Barbarossa - album review
Chemical Campfires (Fence Records)
It must be fun down the Fence Collective way with all those pseudonyms being hidden behind. And so following in the footsteps of the label’s mentor King Creosote (Kenny Anderson) here we have James Mathe aka Red Beard (‘barbarossa’ in Italian), whose character is split between Poppy Red Bear (hurrah!) and Proggish Red Beard (boo!). For every McCartney-esque ‘Lines’, the plaintive ‘Seven Years’ and the Thom Yorke tribute ‘Fall or Fly’, this collection is let down by the grinding, whiney ‘We Are Lit’ and ‘Burning Daylight.’ These Chemical Campfires alternate disappointingly from blazing to a damp squib.