London trio Little Barrie's debut disc, We Are Little Barrie, is a lighthearted, light-fingered romp through the last 30 years of rock history, making stops at funk, blues, psychedelia, AOR, and Brit-pop before landing firmly in the classic rock-inspired jam band camp -- actually landing right at the forefront of that scene and somewhere to the left, too, as Little Barrie manage to escape all the pitfalls (overlong songs, dopey lyrics, lack of dynamics, to name a few) common to the jam band scene. Featuring Edwyn Collins' pitch-perfect production, We Are Little Barrie pulls off the feat of sounding both totally live and carefully planned out at once, giving off warm and groovy vibes from beginning to end. The true star of the show is Barrie Cadogan's guitar; the youngster is a funky rhythm player and peels off some invigorating, non-wanky solos. Unlike so many whiz kids, he doesn't feel the need to show off everything he has ever learned, using his considerable powers in the name of the songs. And the songs are fine, ranging from the acoustic soul of "Greener Pastures," the funky blues of "Be the One" and "Burned Out," and the laid-back grooves of "Free Salute" and "Long Hair" to the storming hard rock of "Well and Truly Done," "Move On So Easy," and "Please Tell Me." Not a weak number to be found. Collins' touch behind the board is a thing of wonder, as he gives the band a thoroughly retro sound without sounding like a pastiche. He and engineer Seb Lewsley also get a great drum sound -- something that too many producers overlook. Cadogan's vocals are another strength; both he and singing drummer Wayne Fullwood have loads of blue-eyed soul and never oversing, preferring instead to stay within the song's structure. All the talk of restraint shouldn't lead to the conclusion that the album is subdued or unexciting -- far from it; the songs fairly leap out of speakers and there is enough electricity flowing through the grooves to power a small city. We Are Little Barrie is a stunning debut for sure, and the kind of record both old-school classic rock dads and groove-loving young kids should be clambering over each other to buy.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra