Barrie: Happy to Be Here

Everybody appreciates a smooth, soft voice for laidback listening. Especially when it’s layered with even more soft voices and sonic texture, reminding the listener that daydreaming on your commute is OK and playing an ongoing mental reel of your life as a music video is also, OK. These elements would not only provide a golden soundtrack to a romantic indie film, but are the fresh product sound of Happy to Be Here, Barrie’s debut album.

Barrie is largely front-woman led, as Barrie Lindsay provides a generous amount of Happy to Be Here’s content as a project bearing her own name. Don’t get it twisted though; just as the cover art suggests, the band is comprehensively made up of four other equally vital members – and they’re pretty tight. Rounded up in New York by their now- manager, Lindsay connected with Spurge Carter, Noah Prebish, and Dominic Apa through a mutual appreciation for similar music and an effective contact book. Stellar bassist Sabine Holler came into the action by taking a chance with a right-swipe on Tinder; neither her nor the band has looked back since.

Barrie was established in Brooklyn in early 2018. However, each individual member hails from different parts of the world, and the unified quirkiness manifests in Happy to Be Here. All members of the band come from a passionate music background, bringing in a multi-dimensional aspect to their music that many bands struggle to master. Jake Aron contributed much production, and it shows in more familiar singles like “Clovers”, and “Darjeeling”. Most of Happy to Be Here’s stirring lyrical content gives an insight into Lindsay’s thoughts, as she sings about fascinations and possible let-downs of city life. Lindsay effectively romanticizes otherwise unimportant events through her writing and the band’s beats, making it clear that they can add novelty to even the small occurrences in life – and generate 10 tracks out of it.

If one thing can be said about Barrie’s style, it’s their aptitude for cohesive storytelling through hymn and sound. “Dark Tropical” is told from the perspective of a jaded observer highlighted by relaxed drums and prominent keyboard work. “Clovers” utilizes the keyboard again, this time with rich guitar and soft voices to illustrate a bright daydream in Lindsay’s head. The band starts a tonal incline with “Habits” and “Chinatown” all while maintaining a rosy, vintage soundscape. Lindsay further demonstrates her remarkable ability to put abstract feelings into words in “Habits” and “Teenager”. Even the heavier produced songs like “Saturated” and “Casino Run” do not nearly sacrifice the band’s ingenuity. In fact, these songs add just a touch of psychedelic that is a direct testament to Barrie’s range of skill, and yet they know not to reveal all their style secrets in one album. Respectable.

As Lindsay (now famously) put it, according to the band’s Winspear page, “We’re very different, but we cover each other’s gaps personally and creatively, and are eager to learn from each other.” While they’re still a new band in terms of years together, Happy to Be Here allows them to expertly introduce themselves as Barrie, the new local heavy hitters for ethereal pop.

Rating: 8.0/10