Beyond Reinforced Jewel Case is exactly the type of album you need to listen when you are in a good mood. Right now, I’m not really in the mood for having fun, for listening albums that can easily give you headaches. A friend of mine was murdered two weeks ago. Then my grandmother died. I’ve just come back from the funeral. I was supposed to go to the movies and get a little comfort seeing the new Steve Buscemi but I’ve just realized that I lost my credit card and even though I stopped payment I have to wait all night to know if I’m broke or not. So, yes I’m pissed off while listening to this Barr album. But if I don’t appreciate it at the moment, I feel that there undeniably is a funny aspect about it.
Interesting spoken words often backed up by shambolic, jazzy drum parts and repetitive piano sounding like happenings. Barr seems influenced by acts such God Is My Co-Pilot even if the aggressive dimension relies much more in mean, disillusioned lyrics about human relationships (‘List of Demands’) than in epileptic noise. The music doesn’t sound sixties-oriented as if under the influence of Captain Beefheart and Zappa but it also reminds me of one-time hero-losers Midjet Handjob, considering the spoken words’ gibberish aspect.
This album doesn’t tell a story but is a succession of separate tracks (as underlines it ‘All Separate’), containing funny or caustic little stories aimed at people we don’t know or to just an audience, delivering messages to the world, angry messages (not Henry Rollins type of angriness but a sort of cold God Is My Co-Pilot one). Barr, aka B. Fowler is even mad at himself in the last track, ‘Anthems and All’, repeating that this album is too long…
If you’re in the mood for having fun, just go for it, I’ll try to listen to it again in a couple of months…
-SEB ‘Interrogation’ WOOd.