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Means & Ends

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Album Review

This Ontario singer/songwriter has a lot in common with the likes of Danny Michel and Hawksley Workman — creating quirky yet highly contagious pop. Matthew Barber invites you in with the pretty country-tinged lullaby on "Timeless," which seems a perfect title as the tune ambles along. He also stops and starts throughout the song, giving it a theatrical type of effect. "Some people think it's old-fashioned to write songs on guitars," he sings. "Put Me Back Together (So Delicately)" has Barber's muddled vocals over a vaudeville-c*m-pop arrangement in the vein of Tom Waits or Nathan Wiley. But the musician can also deliver the goods on straight-ahead pop/rock nuggets like "Sentimental Acumen," an instant toe-tapper for long summer drives. When he opts for a grandiose Americana effect on the piano-driven, Blue Rodeo-esque "The Beautiful Things That We Waste," one wonders if he can do anything wrong. Another gorgeous tune is the '60s-sounding "Morning Train," although Barber forces the issue slightly. There are a few average efforts, though, including the somber, heartbreak twang of "The Business of Being Apart," with Barber bringing Terry Jacks to mind. It's quickly forgotten with the sweet pop of "Anywhere Else but Here" with "ba ba ba ba da" running through your head. It all comes to fruition with "Every Mistake," another reflective No Depression ditty that is quite memorable.[Means & Ends, Rovi


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Matthew Barber grew up in Toronto on oldies records and Top 40 radio. By high school, he was a classic rock freak, and had embraced indie music by the time he reached college. It was around this time that he started fueling his influences into some furious four-tracking. By the early 2000s, Barber was living in Hamilton, Ontario, where he bought graduate-school coffee with money from local solo gigs. In June 2002 he self-released his debut LP, Means & Ends; it showcased a sound somewhere between...
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Means & Ends, Matthew Barber
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