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Lose Big

Eef Barzelay

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Album Review

Eef Barzelay's first album away from his bandmates in Clem Snide, 2006's Bitter Honey, was a purposefully Spartan affair, featuring just Barzelay and his guitar. Two years later, Clem Snide have quietly called it a day, leaving Barzelay free to explore a more expansive musical vision on his own, and while Lose Big isn't a radical departure from what he was doing with the band, it does lean toward a harder-edged brand of pop than what Clem Snide usually offered, and the country accents that used to bob up and down through their music is absent from these ten songs. As a songwriter, Barzelay picks up right where he left off on Clem Snide's swan song, 2005's End of Love, weighing downbeat meditations on love and bad luck against darkly witty meditations on contemporary culture, though the tale of two Christian teens in "True Freedom" is a brilliant and disturbing short story with an acoustic guitar that posts a new high watermark for him, and the title tune sums up Barzelay's governing philosophy remarkably well. Several tunes on Lose Big are nearly as spare as Bitter Honey, but "Could Be Worse" and "Apocalyptic Friend" are chunky rockers that hit a good bit harder than the average Clem Snide cut, and producers Jared Reynolds and Joe Costa (who also serve as Barzelay's rhythm section) give the material an impressive force even at its quietest. The difference between Clem Snide and solo Eef Barzelay isn't especially dramatic, but it's just telling enough that if you liked The Ghost of Fashion, Lose Big should be right up your alley, and if they weren't quite your style, this more straightforward approach may be more to your liking; either way, this is a superb set of songs worthy of your attention.

Biography

Born: Tel Aviv, Israel

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Nashville-based Eef Barzelay is the frontman for Clem Snide, an alt-country/indie band that issued a handful of records in the '90s and 2000s, as well as provided the theme music for the television show Ed. Barzelay formed the band in 1991 and briefly disbanded it in 1994. Clem Snide regrouped a few years later and released their first album in 1998. The band signed on with major label Sire for their second record, but was quickly dropped before...
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Lose Big, Eef Barzelay
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