There has been a long and grand tradition of musicians whose noms de guerre have variously been associated with members of the Canini family. To Chester Arthur Burnett, Alice, Lola, Mother, Parade, People, Turbo et alia, we can now add the full name of Wolf Solent and the man baring his musical teeth under that particular guise is one Danny Trew Barton.
Having moved away from his past work with Jonjo Feather, The Illness and White Firs, Danny Trew Barton then took to his bedroom for a couple of years. Where Brian Wilson once had a sand pit and piano, Barton had a rack of instruments, a clutch of songs and some home recording equipment, but just like the former Beach Boy he has now re-emerged and with him he has brought his first solo offering, the Lifeboat EP.
Lifeboat is what Syd Barrett would have probably sounded like had he not ingested far too many hallucinogens, taken to wearing his T-shirts inside out and if he had only been able to eventually return from the outer limits of his own fractured imagination and self-imposed exile.
The otherworldly psychedelia of early Pink Floyd is the first vague marker that Barton places on Lifeboat‘s musical map; a loose reference point to which he then adds various other broad locations. In his grand cartographic design he finds ample room for sixties pop, some modern Americana and the re-imagining of transcendence through the prism of lo-fi psychedelic rock.
‘T.V Glow’ is the analogue sound of static on your television screen; a fuzzed-out wave of thermal noise onto which Barton’s dislocated, distorted voice is stapled. The beatific bliss of ‘Due’ glides serenely along for all of 82 seconds, exactly twice the length of the hypnotic spacey chimes of ‘In Stutter’; their gentle warmth lying either side of the joyous pop sensibility of ‘Get On’. It is not clear if ‘Ac Ty’ refers to Mr Segall though it does share certain aspects of the Californian’s spin on garage-rock for slackers, while ‘Windmill’ and ‘Red Radio’ are by equal measure woozy, fuzzy and hazy. In each one Barton’s voice is buried deep inside their womb. All seven songs, when taken collectively, capture the sound of a cosmic renaissance.
With a clear debt to Alex Chilton, Mark Linkous, Kevin Shields and Kevin Parker, Danny Trew Barton is always going to be a potential hostage to influence, yet with the Lifeboat EP he somehow manages to avoid the land mines of cliché by producing a record that deftly takes the listener one clear step beyond retro.
Lifeboat EP was released on 24th March 2014 through Sea Records.