Barlow are a Pittsburgh shoegaze trio whose disorienting, lo-fi pop anthems seem to fight their way through giant piles of cotton in order to be heard.
Pink Rounds C-60, released on Halloween, contains a number of Barlow’s demos, old tracks, and sketches, dating as far back as 2011. The days of Casey Anthony, ATF gunwalking, and the Arab Spring seem like a lifetime ago, so it makes sense that some tracks on this album hit your brain life a faded memory, blanketed in fuzz and floating just out of reach. “Heather” is an interesting case; its drum track was recorded back in 2015, with guitars and vocals added in 2018 and bass in 2019. It’s funny to think that the percussion’s muffled thud may have been produced by someone trying to decide what color a dress was, while the gentle arpeggios and monolithic walls of guitar come from the days of royal weddings and feline superhero blockbusters. The track seems to exist in a haze outside of time; Ethan Oliva sounds dazed and bewildered when he begins the song by musing, “One day I’m free/One day I sleep,” as if temporal order is an unknown or forgotten concept. The titular character is the only thing or person who can break through the fog; Oliva ventures, “Heather, I think you found me,” purposely keeping things vague and uncertain. “Heather” is an elusive listen that rivals early Purling Hiss in terms of pure gauze factor, a sonic cocoon in which to hide out for a few minutes.