BARR: Summary 

Brendan Fowler is not afraid of over-using improper English and an entirely made-up vocabulary. He embraces "umms" with enthusiasm. Alongside the spastic, incessantly rambling speeches found in BARR's sophomore album, Summary, these grammatical mistakes only make the CD more endearing.

While frontman Fowler's ceaseless one-man conversation through this nine-track album may leave some listeners with a headache from word overload, the simplicity brought to Summary and its calming piano chords and solid, single drum beat, though somewhat disjointed, complement his rants. In "Untitled," a track ironically titled in contrast to Fowler's apparent inability to find a lack of words, this disheveled style feels perfect.

Music speaks to its listeners, and Fowler uses this in the most literal sense. He states in Summary's jacket that, "In many songs, there are switches from indefinite pronouns (the general 'you') to definite pronouns (addressing a specific person or 'you') and even many switches between definite pronouns within songs as well (from one 'you' for another, different 'you,')." You feel as though he is talking directly to you--definite pronoun or otherwise.

Because he is scarcely singing throughout the album, the times Fowler does choose to try his hand at vocals on this conversational CD seem slightly awkward, because there's little depth behind his voice. While some may feel dissatisfied with his constant speaking, the story-like feel of Summary's lyrics make this technique work. Without closely listening to Fowler's rambling lyrics, this style may seem overdone. But the shifts he takes in his speech, from ranting about a show, describing a trip to Planned Parenthood, apologizing for stealing a line in a song from a friend, mumbling while "in the midst of tripping out," to giving heartfelt advice, make it flow.

Summary's stream of consciousness style follows a path of a hyperactive Andrew Bird. This album truly is one to listen to, even if it is "inarticulated in just the biggest bag of thinking about how to whatever."

--Collin Veenstra

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