Reviews::Barton Carroll Love & War

It seems that we've been playing six degrees of Eric Bachmann (that kind of sounds like Kevin Bacon if you say it real slow, right?) here on the hill lately. Barton Carroll is probably best known for playing every instrument under the sun for Crooked Fingers, but he's also put his touches on the music of the severely underappreciated, Dolorean.

The black and white cover of Carroll's 2001 release, Love & War, is symbolic. Simple, plain and completely unpretentious; just like Barton. Love & War is a combination of originals and a few time weathered cuts that he puts his heart and soul into. The album starts with only Barton's gravely voice, before the hushed guitar and cello complete his take on the traditional folk song, Look up, look done, the lonesome road. As he repeats the words, the day I left my home, the melancholy emotional tone of the record is hammered home.

If you are looking for another new wave record laced with synth riffs and nonsensical lyrics, this isn't for you. Instead, this introspective record is one you play by yourself, and ask the questions that seem to have no answer. Carroll's lyrics are intelligent and focus on the questions of war. He draws his inspiration from the writings of authors like Elie Wiesel, who have experienced the terror and loss of war first hand. I don't think anyone can ever understand war without experiencing it, but Carroll sincerely addresses the fears we all have (leaving your home and family, the terror of combat, and the uncertaintity of returning home after the war ends).

I honestly don't remember much of the music I listened to in 2001, and more importantly I don't remember much of the world we lived in. So much has changed, and we've lived in war for so long that it's hard to try to think back to how we felt before everything changed. I can honestly say that I weren't ready to think about the questions Carroll poses, and I certainly wasn't ready for this fantastic record.

MP3:: Cat on the Beach - via Aquarium Drunkard
MP3:: Small Thing

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