Editor's Rating

This Edinburgh quartet have brewed up a purple power-pop five-tracker that just demands your ears

9

DESCRIBING themselves as “psychedelic slop-pop”, Edinburgh’s Barbe Rousse (it’s French for ‘ginger beard’) are to these ears, conversely, a rather neat proposition.

Their digitally released five-tracker, the Factory Settings EP, is the brainchild of Leith home recording magician Alasdair Kelly, and is a paisley treat.

Following on from a full-length debut for Double A-Side Records in 2017, Misc. Muses, Alasdair and his band have been slowly bubblin’ up a heady potion of psych/power-pop goodness. 

Apparently inspired by Antipodean rock luminaries such as Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, friend and fellow Backseat Mafia scribe Richard and I gathered around the streaming EP (hey, remotely … we’re still locked down, folks); I, for one, certainly felt that the above reference points are perhaps a disservice. Great early work by both bands, certainly, but as they’ve both drifted into pristine synth textures in more recent times, haven’t they both become just a little sterile and well … bland?

No, as the choppy riff pop of the eponymous opener gave way to the spacey call-and-response southern soul rawk of “Foolin’ Myself Again” and the summer stoner powerpop harmonies of “All Of My Time”, we sat and traded such names as 10CC, White Denim, MGMT, Big Star, The Lemon Twigs and Jellyfish at each other. 

This Scottish outfit are fun as hell, a real melting pot of fuzzy riffage, spacey bloops, grinning early 70s boogie, and winking grandiosity. Like the bands above, they’ve a way with a tune, aren’t afraid to chuck anything they fancy at a song with grinning abandon, and are A-grade at knocking out a pretty melody that’s as clever as it’s complex as it’s knowingly dumbass.

The EP, comprised of tunes all of which Alisdair finished during our current virus purdah, is up at the band’s Bandcamp for a fiver; and frankly this is one of the best psych-pop packages I’ve heard in many a month.

Give them some of your time; step through that purple artwork and into their world.

Barbe Rousse’s Factory Settings EP is available now to stream and purchase at https://barberousseband.bandcamp.com/