In my early days as a music writer (which, one could argue, I’m still in the midst of – having taken it up only three years ago), I was told that a good music review must contain comparisons to other artists. Given the fact that a great number of indie bands aren’t worthy, in my opinion, to share blog space with the greats, this is something I’ve struggled with.
I’m happy that I’m at the point where I can pick and choose the artists I get to profile and, as a general rule, I pick only the ones who I believe can hold their own alongside the established artists I admire.
That being said, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Barricades Rise. Drawing (accurate) comparisons to Mumford & Sons, Turin Brakes and Elvis Perkins, Barricades Rise is a gifted acoustic folk rock duo from the Midlands, U.K. Comprised of Jonathan Coates and Michael McEntee, the two met in 1994 and have been playing together ever since.
Strong, acoustic riffs play well off of Coates’ authoritative, raspy voice. The duo elicits the help of a djembe drum on many of their tracks. Distinct, tribal beats of a traditional African drum lend well to acoustic folk and provide a refreshing take on a genre that is sometimes referred to as rigid and formulaic.
“We came to be through trial and error,” says Coates of Barricades Rise. ”We tried many different bands together [but] … eventually stripped down to a two-piece acoustic act about four years ago and everything just clicked into place.”
“My dad once said we sound like Simon and Garfunkle having an epileptic fit,” McEntee says. “Whether that’s good or bad I have no idea, [but] he’s Irish so I doubt he even knew.”
Barricades’ latest album, ”All I Have is Here” is set to drop June 24. Expect to find undertones of classic rock, folk and 80s electro woven into their sound. ”For this album we’ve been listening to a lot of Elvis Perkins, Langhorne Slim, and The Tallest Man on Earth,” says Coates, whose voice and singing style bears a strong resemblance to the latter. “We tend to write music separately and … then start working on [songs] as a team by adding our own touches.”
“When a song has been completed and recorded, we gig it and it continues to change,” adds Coates. Some songs that we’ve had for years are still changing slightly now.”