If you’re looking for some good old-fashioned acoustic music that’s full of character and brings a warmth that can only come from music that has roots in the very core of a person’s soul, you need to listen to Barry & Liebe‘s ‘Mariposa‘ EP pretty sharpish! There’s no need for fancy gadgets, over-complicated melodies or anything that is trying to push musical boundaries when you’re able to create a sound as beautiful as this. The music is simply given room to speak for itself.
Opening track ‘Dear Beautiful Dreamer‘ features an acoustic guitar which seeps out all the emotions of the magnificent ‘Autumn Leaves‘ accompanying a female vocal which doesn’t try and add in all the frills that pop artists are so keen to focus on, instead opting to land softly on each and every note and to carry on a melody which sounds like aural gold. This is swiftly followed by the considerably more upbeat ‘You Know What‘ which sees Barry take on the lead vocal role and, complimented by an exquisitely arranged violin part, the song comes together instantly and has an added depth to it which is so often missing in this sort of music, resulting in a grating, tinny sound. There can be none of that here though and the sound presented to the listener is full, impressive and distinguished.
‘Reveal‘ opens with a simple hand-drumming pattern accompanying some angelic vocal harmonies. Once a lead vocal reveals itself (see what I did there? Sorry…) the track starts to slowly build and with this increasing textural build comes a magnificent aural landscape which is as infectious and inspiring as a gospel choir. Closing out the EP is ‘Wonder Why‘ on which Barry’s voice comes into its own. Whilst the set-up may be a familiar acoustic sound that we’ve heard countless times before, the duo are able to take things a little further with some of their excellent phrasing choices and an instrumentation selection that I wouldn’t dare mess with. Such a warm, fulfilling sound is the perfect way to finish off a truly delightful EP.
This may not be the sound that folk purists are after yet it can bring folk heritage to a wider audience with its infusions of alternative and indie sounds, culminating in an EP which is well worth a few plays at least.
Catch Barry & Liebe at the Monaghan Arts Network Showcases Wednesday 26th & 29th November in Carrickmacross and Monaghan respectively and supporting Voice of Ireland winner Brendan McCahey in The Iontas Theatre, Castleblayney on 6th December.