The Clearing is a beautiful mix of Acoustic and Pop-Punk music with some added Indie influences.
The album begins with a pleasant acoustic styled punk-rock track and also has the making for a great pop song. Sometimes an acoustic song can feel overwhelming with a drum track behind it but here it compliments well, this is for two reasons; the style, and the fact that Barnes is the Drummer for a band called ‘Don Blake’
Album title track ‘The Clearing’ is the second track on the album and for me falls slightly short of being single worthy. It seemingly borrows a guitar tone and riff from a UK Indie band which doesn’t work overly well. That being said the lyricism really carries this song and it’s easy to get attached to the choruses.
The next three track are golden ‘Sun, Come Back’, ‘No Stars’ and ‘Don’t Say It’ really showcase Barnes talent and skill for song writing. ‘Sun, Come Back’ is a switch back to the first track being a lighter Pop-Punk song which really shines through in this album and these three tracks. ‘No Stars’ also has a beautiful guitar riff and ‘Don’t Say It’ is like a heavy addition to an acoustic Pop-Punk album.
‘Papercuts’ is another beautiful song on this album, this time just totally acoustic and is reminiscent of a Disney movie. This could soundtrack a princess tale and would not be out of place, the lyricism is also catchy and relatable.
The next two tracks have awesome acoustic riffs and instrumentation and its where on this album the obvious indie influences work well. When those brushy sounding chords mix with the fast paced or tribal sounding drum patterns it works beautifully.
Penultimate track on the album - cover of Regina Spektors 'All the Rowboats' admittedly feels better than the original however both versions are great in their own way. It loses none of the charm of the original song which I have to commend Barnes for here.
The last track on the album is like a goodbye anthem, showcasing raw talent once again with perfect instrumentation and lyricism. It’s a great album and has been produced and recorded very carefully and you can really feel Barnes’ Heart and soul has been poured into this record which shines through and plays in his favour I feel.
7/10 Excellent solo album showcasing amazing talent in not only performing and song writing but also producing.
Review by Martin Turner.
Published by Kristian Pugh