Barrie’s debut album, Happy To Be Here is a carefree and energetic dream pop album with a slight twist on the expected. There is a lot to love about Happy To Be Here. The album is packed with songs full of wonder and reverie mixed with optimistic vocals and guitars that radiate summer ambiances.
Barrie is a five-piece Brooklyn band, with singer and songwriter Barrie Lindsay at the helm. The band is a coming together of different sounds and experiences from all members, which builds towards more stimulating and layered songs.
“Darjeering” kick starts the album with bright and breezy electric guitars, which sets the foundation for what’s to come next. One of the great aspects of Happy To Be Here is its ability to seamlessly change tones between songs, keeping the listener surprised and engaged, but at the same time, keeping to its heart and sounding like one solid piece of work. Each track serves a different purpose, from the slow, subdued sound of “Saturated”, to more upbeat and cheerful “Clovers” filled with underlying staccato piano keys.
There seems to be something for everyone on the album. ‘Tropical’ is a gleeful and spacious delight. The song is laidback in its approach, which then sends you off on a daydreaming exploration with its terrifically striking, synth melodies.
Each song in the album highlights each of the band members in different ways. “Teenager” does this by emphasizing the bass guitar, mixed with more complex drums and fills. In contrast, “Geology” is layered by clean reverbed guitars added with a slightly fuzzed synth and a shuffling drum beat.
The electronic elements built into “Casino Run” add a sense of mystery which feels like it has drawn influence from 80s synth pop music. The synths in this track build upon each other and perfectly compliment the soft vocals and minimalistic drums. “Casino Run” will have to be one of my favorites from the album, maybe because of its shift in mood or possibly because of the nostalgic emotions it exposes and embodies.
Happy To Be Here demonstrates the experimental nature of Barrie, leaving you to wonder what they can come up with next. It’s definitely worth listening during those times you want to escape the ordinary and find yourself in a different space full of possibility, energy, and internal thought.