It's not exactly rap, and it's not exactly spoken-word poetry. So what exactly is it that BARR does? We'll call it experimental art/pop storytelling. On their second release, Summary, Brendan Fowler fairly spews forth deeply emotional, stream-of-consciousness reflections on the state of the world, music marketing and the nature of art, along with what sounds like 3 a.m. ramblings on answering machines to ex-girlfriends. Throughout, his vocal intonations work in tandem with minimalist music backing, sometimes nothing more than a steady drumbeat.

BARR certainly reflects today's confessional, blogging culture in songs like "Was I? Are You?" and "Complete Consumption of Us Both." Text messaging gets a shout-out more than once. Summary is said to follow events in Fowler's real life during roughly a five-month time span. But the overall sound of BARR is also pretty polarizing -- either you're going to connect with Fowler's musings, or you'll think it's a load of navel-gazing crap. Either way, Summary reflects a more pop leaning than BARR's previous effort, making it somewhat more accessible, despite the angst.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero