Roger Cole & Paul Barrere’s Musical Schizophrenia moves back and forth from a variety of styles, but their own style can be found embedded within each and every track on offer.
‘The Quiet Man’ kicks the album off with a laid back feel, the guitars delivering restrained yet snappy tones. It’s clear from the start that Cole & Barrere intend to create music that allows the listener to be taken places, with a dreaminess that pervades their songwriting. As the album progresses, we are taken through a range to styles, with ‘Moto’s Monkey’ heading in more of a psychedelic direction. The swirling guitar tones wash around the listener, while the lead vocal churns out in a staccato fashion. Lurching forward, ‘Breakdown’ gets things more down and dirty with some thundering bass tones and blistering distorted guitars that really start to sing as the solo rings out, while ‘Breathe’ pulls things back again. It’s a song that has a real width to it, filling the sonic landscape with a great big airy wash. Reverb laden vocals flutter back and forth to create a refreshing sound, before giving way to a more brash tone that appears towards the end of the track, with vocals that ever so slightly lean towards some influences from metal. The album’s overall tone manages to remain consistent throughout, despite trying a variety of different methods, with ‘Who’s Right’ employing some country influences to add a little bit of Americana into the mix. It’s a track with a chorus that easily grabs the attention, and adds to the way in which most of the songs on offer here create a real sense of being taken on a journey. Exactly what that journey is remains to be interpreted by the listener – for Cole and Barrere, perhaps it is more of a walk through their own personal memories. For those of us on the listening end, there is the opportunity to get lost in a journey of possibilities, hopes, and expectations. Using a more smoky and moody feel, ‘Bad Blood’ has a depth to it that is balanced with some characterful piano notes that both underline the sultry nature of the track, while adding a contrast with its own lightness. There are some beautiful vocal moments as well, with the acapella harmonies on the opening of ‘Just Keep Walking’, and the guitar work on ‘Mary’ is at points quite exquisite. By the time we make it to the album’s penultimate track ‘Sail Away’, we find ourselves in the middle of a fun mix of familiar gentle guitar work with an alternative style that feels something like a cross between early Bowie and Captain Beefheart. Musical Schizophernia comes to its end with ‘Your Virtual Life’, a clattering track that is something of a contrast when compared to how the album began. Using a square dance feel that has shades of the Charleston, it’s a really fun way to allow the album to go out with a bang – or maybe it should be out with kazoos. No, really.