"I turn on
the radio/the news stay the same/I know them by heart now/As I know the speakers'
names. - All the cars got their lights on/It's getting dark earlier these days/I
can't wait no longer/To see the light on your face"
Darkness and light - these are the most important emotional cornerstones on SOLD, BARNSTORMER's second album. BARNSTORMER are four guys from Northern Germany who are very dedicated to the emotional core of classic handmade rock while their songs talk of the dichotomy between reality and utopia and present snapshots of lives migrating between hope and despair. BARNSTORMER play guitar-based rock music with a lot of slow-paced energy. It's music coming from the grey area between darkness and light. In fact the songs' episodes usually take place in bittersweet emotional situations. And the guys in BARNSTORMER have cultivated a sort of intelligent scepticism and a sense of resistance against the sometimes depressing ways of the present world - intelligently and with lots of emotion. Therefore, the characters in BARNSTORMER's songs are often dwelling in the dim light of failed relationships, disturbed communication and other essential realities of life in the postmodern world. But there is also the other side of reality, emotional landscapes populated by ghosts and fallen angels, elements which are fundamental to the American mytho-logy of rock. And so the songs on SOLD lead you to rainy evening hours, emotional signals of faded postcards on the wall, and to the dangers of living in the past. Fortunately, one might say ironically, BARNSTORMER seem to have a close relationship to these dark situations. It's a benefit to their music. After all is said and done there is still the uplifting power of the music.
BARNSTORMER hail from the Bremen area, located in the northern part of the country. They had a self-released first album in 1995. SOLD, their second effort contains nine original compositions and the cover of a great Jimmy Webb tune: "Highwayman" - a dreamlike American vision of truly universal appeal.
Founded in 1993, BARNSTORMER has two excellent songwriters in its team: Jürgen Böke (guitars, vocals) and Stefan Scholz (guitars, vocals). The rhythm section consists of Michael Daum (bass, vocals) and Christoph Engelke (drums, vocals) and together they are a quartet with the classic rock line-up - guitars rule. BARNSTORMER is a band whose collective interaction is determined by a great love for playing, perfect mutual understanding and lots of intensity. The two songwriters of the band are also the vocalists for their own tunes and this fact gives an interesting comparison between the two and it's even more interesting to try and get a grip on their different personalities. Böke and Scholz follow different approaches towards song-writing and their singing is different as well. But the music on SOLD is not a hodgepodge of many different elements. It's rock with a pretty clear and definite stance.
Essential to the BARNSTORMER sound are influences from the classic US rock music scene notably from the 60s and 70s. Sometimes you get the feeling of Neil Young's black Gibson Les Paul in all its Crazy Horse glory shining through the speakers and there are influences from the grungy early roots-rock days, the fragile melancholy of Uncle Tupelo, Blue Mountain, Wilco, Son Volt and even a little bit of Buffalo Springfield. The guys in BARNSTORMER also like the melodic finesse of classic Byrds, Beatles and Beach Boys stuff - next to all real music from progressive bluegrass and outlaw country to punk - but all of the latter has not left any audible marks in the band's sound. They concentrate more on intensity and communication of an intelligent rock sensibility. Americana? This may be a perfect descriptive term for the music on SOLD.
Down to earth American rock lives on in this German band and what made newer bands and artists like Green on Red or Neal Casal so popular is found in the music of BARNSTORMER as well - labors of love and the unbroken fascination for intelligent rock with an attitude. A love for the magic that can be conjured with electric guitars and the philosophy that a couple of guys in a band can come up with something special - music that none of them could create on their own. Especially in a live setting.
With their music BARNSTORMER consciously map out an alternative to the ever-present mindlessness of contemporary Top 40 radio and the ongoing loss of content in popular music from too much fake emotion and the brutal domination of audiovisual media - "Keep it simple and direct - but intense and serious". This is BARNSTORMER's message. The innocence of rock's past may have been bought and sold, but as long as we have bands like these, all is not lost in the future of real rock music.
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