Reviews Tim Barry Manchester

Tim Barry

Manchester

Manchester is the latest album by Avail frontman Tim Barry. Barry has always had a very distinctive voice. Not just vocally, but lyrically and thematically. So as he offers up his second proper solo effort, Manchester, we are once again taken along for a ride with his slightly sweet and bitter, sometimes gravelly voice as he weaves tales of soldiers in Iraq, being harassed by Texas cops, loves and friendships lost, and other hardships on the road of life.

As with what seems to be an ever growing group of former punk rock frontmen, Barry has taken the folk/roots music approach to his solo work. It's something that's always made sense to me, as punk rock and folk music have far more in common then people used to like to admit. As the trend is starting to grow however, I fear this will be seen as just another musical trend that will fall by the wayside, leave music stores full of used acoustic guitars, banjos, and upright basses. However, with Manchester, we get a quality piece of musicianship, and an album that can withstand the onslaught of punks who think they can find their way around an acoustic guitar. What the pretenders don't have, Barry has in spades. The ability to tell a story, and convey the emotions he wants to share. A unique point of view. Soul and the experience of a life fully lived.

What really stands out the most on Manchester is the fact that Barry and his backing musicians seem to have found a swagger that his previous effort, Rivanna Junction just couldn't muster. He claims in the song "Tile Work" that he "walks straight and never with a sway" but even that song has a swing to it, that demands at least some foot tapping. Most of the album has a bounce to it, and it's damn near impossible to not find yourself stomping along. As he finds his voice away from Avail, his playing and song arranging have continued to grow also. What we see here is a culmination of his past twenty years worth of output being filtered down into an album filled with the grit, sweat, dust, blood, and heartbreak of everyday life, but most importantly a sense that even with all the bad, life is a glorious thing to be savored.

The only complaint I have about this album, is that on the first few listens, the sequencing seemed disjointed. It felt like I was listening to a bunch of different tracks on shuffle, and not a cohesive album. The more I've listened to it, this complaint has faded away, but there are times when I feel jarred out of the mood I was just in by the beginning of the next song.

8.0 / 10Zach
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8.0 / 10

8.0 / 10

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