Review: Barnett's Clever Lyrics Tackle the Drama of Music-making on World Record

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Artist: Blunt Mechanic

Album: World Record

Label: Barsuk

Release Date: Last week

Rating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): Buy (it's only $8 at Barsuk's website!)

Download: "Aluminum and Light"

In the simplest terms, Ben Barnett's latest musical offering is an album about the emotional process of recording an album. Most of the songs on World Record, recorded under the moniker Blunt Mechanic, mention the art of making music and the scene that surrounds it. On the poetic and charming "Is or Isn't It all the Time," the album's best song, Barnett sings "I think solos are hot, not because they showoff, but express a fluid musical thought." Again on "Pop Song," a remarkably acoustic-sounding track that cleverly betrays its name, he explains that "all good pop songs tell you one of two things: it's gonna be alright, or it's nothing at all."

It makes sense that Barnett, the frontman of now-defunct Kind of Like Spitting, would focus his energy on the addiction, drama, and confusion that surrounds a musician's life. It's been four years since he released an album, which is a lifetime for Barnett, considering that Kind of Like Spitting recorded 12 albums in eight years. During that time off, he moved from Portland to Seattle and became the Director of the Paul Green School of Rock, and the effect on his music has been somewhat calming. But the best and brightest parts of Barnett's talent are in full force here: he's incredibly honest in his lyrics, refusing to pull punches. He is as clever as ever, using turns of phrase and internal lyrical rhyme structures to create rhythm. Barnett sings the truth on"Thrown Out at Third": "The moral of the story is you're lucky if you find your own voice."

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