In September, noise-poppers Barlow celebrated the 10th anniversary of their first set by releasing an album called Walls of Future.
Even though Walls of Future‘s title wouldn’t sound out of place affixed to a big-budget Marvel picture, the album itself, like so many of Barlow’s others, is gloriously lo-fi. Recording at home using Logic and a trusty TASCAM, the group was once again able to wring a series of evocative rock collages–ranging in tone from starry-eyed to turbocharged–from a limited set of resources. The appropriately-titled “At Home” sways gently back and forth, like a lifeboat on a vast, fuzzy sea; jangly guitar notes ring out and spiral away, frontman Ethan Oliva, his voice just another instrument in the mix, waxes impressionist melancholy (“Won’t you follow/What’s more than a day/You’ll spend anyway/Just showing the pain”), and the rhythm section soldiers dutifully onward against the gritty tide. Eventually, the song makes like a volcano and erupts, gaining brawn and volume while Oliva sky-writes unrequited love letters with his guitar. For a piece recorded “At Home,” the track feels like it spans epochs.