Edwyn Collins-produced, London-based power trio flexes muscles on lean, bloozey garage-funk debut
Little Barrie’s debut is tough meat clinging to the bone. Without effects, ironic distance or fancy production, frontman Barrie Cadogan’s guitar glides effortlessly between hotted-up blues riffs, rolling funk and expressive solos, twitching all around the beat and the soul koans of his vocals. Lewis Wharton’s bass is less foundation than second lead, cycling through clipped melodic phrases with a precision that ballasts the wanton guitar. Wayne Fulwood’s drumming is the model of restraint, eschewing clutter in favor of a deep, fluid pulse, and his background vocals sound strikingly realistic—the rich, honest production preserves the sense of distance between the two singers. No smoke, no mirrors: A timeless confidence oozes from Cadogan’s unprocessed licks and sizzling moan, and while the same pared-down, consistent groove that makes Little Barrie such an immediate grabber might play them out quickly, it’s a tasty, gristly flavor of the month.