Anton Barbeau

Waterbugs and Beetles

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Todd Rundgren, the mad power-pop genius -- the kind who locks himself in his home studio and crafts multi-layered pop gems, playing all the instruments himself -- has long been one of the favorite archetypes of record collectors. Anton Barbeau fits into that tradition quite well, growing out of the Scott Miller/Game Theory branch of the power-pop family tree. Miller himself appears on Waterbugs & Beetles, the second album from Barbeau, and he's not alone -- there's several cameos, harmony vocals, extra guitarists and even cellists scattered throughout the record, but it remains Barbeau's show. And what a strange show it is, with its "Beautiful Bacon Dream," "Complicated Umbrella Piece" and "Vomit Song." It certainly is the work of someone who has spent a little bit too much time alone in a darkened room, hunched over an old guitar, jotting down cryptic impressionistic lyrics. As such, it's a bit hard to warm to the album, even when his tremulous voice delivers a catchy melody, but for power-pop fans willing to enter Barbeau's private universe, there's some curious things to be heard.

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