The inevitable indie-funk wave has crashed on American shores, and its salty foam is getting critics all moist and breathless. We Are Little Barrie is a sly, hopelessly hip introduction to the trend: a tightly wound amalgam of Meters-like funk and Donovan-esque Northern soul psychedelics that's as authentically British as Austin Powers's snaggletoothed mug. Which is to say, not very, but it's fun as hell, and who cares as long as it makes you randy, baby?
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Truth is, the Nottingham, England, trio nods toward American ragmop revivalists like Galactic and G. Love for its modern context but steps out with a vintage jangle-funk boogie that echoes back through the decades. From Stax to Sly to the Godfather, Little Barrie parlays its black American influences into all the white moves, Brit-style -- a sort of leaner, sweatier Gomez. Lead vocalist-guitarist (Little?) Barrie Cadogan pulses with minimalist, wiry soul and is high-impact in voice and syncopated strumming, taking tracks like "Free Salute" and "Long Hair" to anthemic heights. The two-man rhythm section is a masterfully understated match -- walking bass lines and lingering ride cymbals stick these tracks together like Krazy Glue. There's crazy potential for mass appeal here, so long as you take your funk with a Brit lilt and your soul with indie insolence.