THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2011|
Posted by: Siobhan Fludder
Considering the difficulties that many bands of only three or four members face when trying to agree on writing and recording albums, it's truly incredible the amount of hopeful enthusiasm that is successfully expressed by the Swedish group, I'm From Barcelona, who possess up to 29 individual members. Following positive reception of their past products, the band has delivered yet another brightly coloured compilation of pleasant tracks in their latest upcoming album, Forever Today. Favoring the piano's higher octaves, jittery beats, and flawlessly cheerful hooks, I'm From Barcelona explore indie pop-rock with a refreshing blast of unabashed positivity. The infectious tunes within Forever Today are able to generate instant enjoyment one bouncy track after another, reminding us that jaded cynicism is not the necessary ingredient for credibility.
While the titles of songs like "Always Spring" and "Can See Miles" indicate the inescapable happiness exuding from the tracks, even indications of conflict in numbers like "Battleships" can't seem to veer down a negative path. In fact, despite the seemingly sinister name, "Battleships" provides one of the catchiest hooks in the album, which is nothing more than a repetition of high pitched "Ba ba ba"s that are joyful enough to bring heel-kicks to shame. But don't let the optimism throw you, because the group balances their merriment with enough low key rhythm to cool things down when necessary and avoid being shifted into an annoying territory. This occurs in songs such as "Skipping A Beat", which is driven by a fresh and crisp rhythm, offset alongside a modest piano melody that occaisonally drops through the song, even while including the band's signature hand claps.
"Dr. Landy", on the other hand, picks up the pace with some frenzied energy packed in between the unaffected simplicity of their lyrics, such as during the chorus' hook of "Give me this / Or give me that". This ability to compact touching events and exciting moments with such frank, yet compelling, delivery is one of the shining qualities that I'm From Barcelona possess, especially considering how many minds are combining during the creation of this music. Despite how many contributing members of the band there are, the music never gives off a feel of contrasting, direction-less opinions. The full force of the group's roster finds comfort during the moments in most songs when a chorus of voices provide a charming background to accompany the lead vocals via their singalong manner.
I'm From Barcelona's Forever Today continues the band's purely delightful recipe for catchy tunes without falling victim to the pop niches dominating today's radio waves. Perhaps every track on the album demonstrates this achievement, with the way that "Charlie Parker" duals the vocal melody and instrumental rhythm together for an undeniable groove, or during the following song "Get In Line", which includes electronic accents and lighthearted shouts in a passionate and direct approach without catering to overly obtrusive pop crutches. The exit of title track "Forever Today" exposes a calmer method, leading the piano down more of a ballad-based path, rather than being the leading jingle of the song. Even the drum beats slow down, letting the finishing touches of sighful proclamations wash over you with the distinctly pleasant vibe that represents the very core of the band. Essentially, the real success in the album's ability to sidestep too much overwhelming enthusiasm can mostly be credited to the various quirks, such as in the pitter-patter vocal accents throughout "Game Is On" or "Skipping A Beat".
These eccentric moments assembled among such a bright direction develop the true heart of I'm From Barcelona, and are artfully translated within Forever Today, capturing the lovable buzz of the group's effervescent charm.