Review: Barlow - "Every Time I Saw Him"

Barlow - Every Time I Saw Him
(Self-Released 2016)

Barlow tapes are not unlike those packs of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla sugar wafers you can snap up for a buck or two at Kroger. They're neatly wrapped assortments of flaky little fuzz-pop jingles churned out at an automaton rate and primed for convenient consumption. Each track on Every Time I Saw Him is a brief, concentrated dose of sugary endorphins ingested in the form of hydrogenated sludge-rock drones and balmy Beach Boys vocal harmonies. Most potently sweet are "Down The Stairs", leaving jangle-pop residue floating in liquid reverb like chocolate in cereal's milk, and "Tempeh", a sunburned chunk of early Dinosaur Jr fuzz punk that opens with a deceptively breezy New Wave chord progression. Though much of the album traverses territory familiar to any devout Barlow fan, closing cut "Hymn" acts as a fresh closer that could hint at future ventures into antsy Krautrock composition. Every Time I Saw Him might not provide the same thrill of discovery that previous Barlow ventures have served up, but its familiar pie crust textures and skillful pop constructions are as trusty as ever - comforting like a favorite dessert paired with coffee.