Reviews Tim Barry High On 95

Tim Barry

High On 95

Nobody can doubt Tim Barry’s heart. He’s worn it on his sleeve since he began his solo career with a 2005 demo. Depending how you count live records and demos, High on 95 is his eight record since then. Besides being prolific, his songs are largely first-person accounts of a drifter watching the world around him in wonder. The sound is traditional: mostly Barry and his acoustic guitar, and sometimes joined by additional backing musicians. 

The theme this time around continues to focus on developing technology and how it disconnects people from the world instead of bringing them together. There’s a pointed aggression in his imagery, emphasizing the ugliness of concrete, cars and LED screens. “Chelsea” is a good example of this, contrasting the bustle of city life versus the calmer environment outside of the city, among the trees instead of the concrete. Sometimes it wavers into preachy territory—“Porter Street” leading that direction—and, at its best, it falls somewhere in the middle, noting the beauty of simple things, such as in “Riverbank.”

In broad strokes, it’s Barry’s voice and backing acoustic with some nice hooks that make his songs work. His narrative leads the way in a tone that’s easily relatable. He does mix things up throughout the album. “O & DP” has a swinging country vibe, “Chelsea” adds a little bite atop the tamer acoustic sound, and “Running Never Tamed Me” adopts full-band Americana.

Barry’s heart has long been his strength, and it’s captured well on High on 95. The record, reportedly cutting songs in single takes, sounds live and it sounds true. It doesn’t bring much new to his overall catalog, but instead captures Tim Barry circa 2017 as he makes his way through life.

7.5 / 10Loren
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7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

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