Upstate New York roots-rock trio Barry’s album Yawnin’ in the Dawning isn’t heavy music by a long shot, but it’s not stupid either. Some would say that the three brothers – Patrick on guitar and vocals, Ben on bass and Brad Barry on drums – are a bar band, which is accurate: they’re a good one. Throw a shot apiece of River-era Springsteen, Damn the Torpedoes-era Petty and the Pogues and chase it all with a beer or two and you have an idea of what they sound like. The production is fat and purist: put this on your headphones and you pretty much forget you’re listening to a mp3.
The title track is a sea chantey: “I only had ten hours of sleep and I wish I had ten more.” Amen to that! The second cut, For Your Own Good adds Celtic overtones to a pounding vintage Springsteeen groove. It’s a defiant individualist anthem, and it’s not a pose. “The bust is coming down on me and I don’t care,” asserts Patrick. Too bad corporate radio doesn’t play catchy singalong songs like this. Carnival (e) is a reggae song that builds a creepy circus scene: “They beg the bearded lady to make faces, to leave traces, of hope for some more.”
The band follows that with After Three Years in Carolina, a catchy, swaying country-rock song with characteristically nice guitar/organ textures and lush vocal harmonies. When the singer’s ex comes back to his neighborhood to haunt him, he has it all figured out: “I got a plan, I’ll get high every day.” The most Irish of all the songs here was obviously made to get the crowd going at shows: it’s a drinking song where each member of the band takes a verse to introduce himself.
I was born the night of a fight in the fall of ’75
The Thrilla in Manila when Ali left Frazier blind …
I’ve staggered through nights on crutches
These are the things that make me feel alive
And then it’s time for shots and beers all around. The album closes with another big, catchy organ-and-guitar-fueled ballad, Love Something Too Much and then one that should have been left on the cutting room floor. Considering the rest of the stuff on this album, it’s safe to assume that the band has more where this came from. The Bushwick and Echo Park trendoid rock blogs absolutely despise this kind of music. A band that’s actually fun, that you can sing along to? Ewww! Which is why you’re reading about it here and not there.