Rochester’s Barbarosa are a talented duo who craft beautiful indie-pop tunes laced with synthesizers and well-thought-out male/female harmonies. Their new, self-titled release is no exception; fans of mid 2000’s emo like Lydia, Copeland, or MAE will find this lush EP hitting close to their heart.
We recommend starting with opening track “A Step Back,” which combines the sentimental twang of late 90’s emo with atmospheric synth swells and cavernous reverb. Barbarosa’s pop songwriting is best demonstrated here, especially in the chorus, where they expertly expand a typical four-chord structure into something atmospheric and beautiful. Their male/female harmonies shine through strongest here, pairing a strong, catchy melody with inventive and jazzy drumming.
Track two, “Pervitin,” might be the best juxtaposition of their Bandcamp bio – “loud and pretty.” Here, we find Barbarosa at their darkest… Bordering on menacing and mysterious, the duo have crafted a song more energetic than “A Step Back,” but no less beautiful. Somehow, Barbarosa turn a straightforward bass riff into a chorus that is uniquely orchestrated, full of tasteful distortion and hooky guitar riffing.
EP closer “Natural Path” is a rework of an old song, but is nonetheless an apt addition to this fantastic three song EP. Glassy, bell-like guitars form the backbone beneath vocalist Hannah Gouldrick’s gentle melodies and lilting presence. The song is essentially one long crescendo, but never transcends into epic, overblown territory. Barbarosa surely knows how to keep their feet on the ground, even if they are crafting cosmic indie-pop.
Don’t snooze on picking up this EP – it’s currently being offered for a very reasonable “pay what you want” price on Bandcamp.