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There May Come a Time EP - EP

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Album Review

Australian indie pop institution Bart Cummings' short-but-sweet twee reflections have grown and deepened over the course of decades, first appearing in the early '90s in the form of bands like the Cat's Miaow and the Shapiros. Bart & Friends emerged at the turn of the century as a vehicle for Cummings' lovelorn tunes, assembling members of the Lucksmiths, Summer Cats, and other key players in the Australian indie scene to realize the band. As quickly as the songs themselves crackled and faded from view, Bart & Friends went through an extended absence, resurfacing in 2010 with Make You Blush, the first of what would be a series of EPs for the band, all highlighted with Pam Berry's (she of Black Tambourine, the Shapiros, Glo-Worm, and a host of other short-lived but excellent twee acts) darkly graceful vocals. There May Come a Time is the third of these EPs, following 2011's Stories with the Endings Changed. This six-song mini-album is blueprint-perfect twee pop: understated, brief, jangly, and just melancholic enough to pull the heartstrings, but not so much as to detract from a bevy of hooks and happy detours. The album-opening title track and a gentle cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love" are standouts, finding Berry's croon a perfect mate in Cummings' sparkling Johnny Marr-esque guitar picking. The slightly fuzzier tones of "A Kiss You Won't Forget" and the acoustic strums and upbeat tempo of all 48 seconds of "There Are So Many Things I'd Like to See" don't recall the late-'90s indie scene of xeroxed 7" covers and fanzines as much as they sound like that time never ended for Bart & Friends. There May Come a Time doesn't smack of nostalgia, though bands coming up in the late 2000s like Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Veronica Falls have found a borrowed nostalgia in this specific brand of indie pop, certainly owing a huge debt to the sound Cummings, Berry, and the Lucksmiths crew all helped craft years earlier. While the sweetness and naive sentimentality could come off as saccharine or outdated to some listeners, Bart & Friends exist somewhat out of time, continuing to make strides in their sound on whatever schedule they see fit. Adrift in an ever-changing musical climate full of fads and competition, their ability to drop in after years of absence and pick up where they left off is a refreshing merit, and the songs have never sounded better.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in Ballarat, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Led by Australian indie pop icon Bart Cummings (Library Records founder and member of the Cat’s Miaow, Hydroplane, Pencil Tin, and the Shapiros) and featuring a revolving-door lineup of similarly beloved collaborators, Bart & Friends is the pop underground supergroup of the land Down Under. The project formed in 1998 in Ballarat, featuring Cummings singing and playing guitar alongside bassist and longtime musical partner Andrew Withycombe; they released 10 Songs About Cars and Girls. Crafting...
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There May Come a Time EP - EP, Bart and Friends
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