Sometimes I suspect journalists of Holland’s leading music magazine OOR of drafting the reviews of some of the less anticipated releases by creative cutting and pasting from the press notes, without actually listening to the album. OOR’s review of the debut album by Düsseldorfian boy-girl duo BAR, for instance states that the band ‘nestles comfortably between ABC, Roxy Music, David Bowie and Propaganda’. It’s interesting to trace back what inspired the reporter to make associations that are so far off that in Holland we would say they ‘close like a rod on a pig’. The press notes by Italic Recordings says that BAR’s singer/composer ‘Lucas Croon sings as if he had studied with Nick Cave, Brian Ferry and Chris Isaac.’ OOR’s reporter picks Brian Ferry, replaces hims with Roxy Music and checks Allmusic.com for acts that followed Roxy Music: ABC. The press note also says that Christina Irrgang’s elegant ‘singing is reminiscent of Claudia Brücken from the Düsseldorf synthpop band Propaganda’. That leaves only the David Bowie reference to be explained, the only one that makes some sense. Obviously BAR and Lucas Croon’s main project Stabil Elite owe a lot to the ‘nonchalant chique’ style of German super group La Düsseldorf that also had a big influence on Bowie’s sound in the eighties, but Bowie took it in a totally different direction away from electronic experimentation and into the hit parade.
By now you probably wish to know what BAR DO sound like, since their music is obviously worth the trouble of smashing all the references above. One name that springs to mind when listening to the more poppy compositions on Welcome To BAR is The Whitest Boy Alive. Songs like Dexy’s Alrobe and Stenberg & Mason (probably referring to a race between to Moto X racers in LA) possess the same laissez faire attitude as many song by the recently terminated Norwegian/German collaboration, but they are considerably more electronic and detached. The excellent single Adios is reminiscent of some of the more atmospheric moment of Junior Boys, minus their dance aesthetic. The second half of Welcome To BAR is considerably more ethereal than the first, with the song Anjali Reverse floating on similar a cloud as the airy tunes of Glasser and Blue Hawaii. Via the gentle electronica of Luna May BAR Theme ultimately brings us to an instrumental land of techno memories. A place also inhabited by The Chromatics and Glass Candy. With their mix of démodé vague and contemporary hip BAR should be able to make an impression far beyond Düsseldorf, forcing even OOR’s reporters to rely on their ears instead of their indexfinger.