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The pop culture landscape is littered with world-class talents that deserve much wider recognition that they actually receive. Rather than once again lament the state of the arts & entertainment world that can allow such a thing to happen, we’ll instead direct your attention to one of those talents: Anton Barbeau. While the Sacramento-bred musician/songwriter has found a growing audience in England and Germany (to the point where he’s taken up semi-permanent residence in Merry Olde), he’s yet to gain the cult following he should have in his own country. Frankly, that’s baffling, given the degree of talent on display on Psychedelic Mynde of Moses, his thirteenth record.
Barbeau’s multi-instrumental facility paints the songs in all sorts of interesting colors; rather than a virtuoso, he’s a supremely tasteful sonic architect. His lyrics tend toward the eccentric – Barbeau is one of the few modern songwriters who can capture the 60s sense of whimsy without sounding silly or dated. “Doctor Don’t Chop My Knee Mama, Ouch is Another Word” isn’t even the weirdest lyric, but it fits the music snugly, and his perfect pop voice delivers it with cocked-eyebrow conviction. But what truly makes Barbeau special is his melodic sense – everything he does walks arm in arm with memorable hooks and instantly appealing tunes. Just try not to hum along with the folk rocking “Eye and I,” the caffeinated “Reasonable Freq.,” the power popping title track or the lush “Drunk Again.” There’s no reason in the world that fans of the Elephant 6 crew, XTC, the Green Pajamas or Robyn Hitchcock (whose old Egyptians compatriot Andy Metcalfe is a frequent collaborator here) wouldn’t clasp Barbeau to their bosoms, especially not after hearing the marvelous Psychedelic Mynde of Moses.
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