This way out

By SAM PFEIFLE  |  March 25, 2009

BANDAGES | Released by The Way Out is Through | at the Grind, in Worcester, Massachusetts | March 26 | www.myspace.com/thewayoutisthroughrocks

Continuing our study of the Portland diaspora, Shana Barry has gone Downeast — and out of this world, for that matter. While Barry's work singing for Seekonk may have at times seemed otherworldly, with her newest project she's actually created another universe, where the island of Fof is populated by happy little Fofers (kind of like brightly colored Ewoks). It's kids' music, yes, with requisite songs extolling diversity, peace, and going to sleep quietly, but a soothing and engaging listen for a grownup with a certain disposition.

All of the eight songs on A Pink Whale and a Very Tall Tree, Barry's Fofer origin story, are sparely arranged, just Barry and a guitar, or a ukulele, and are seductive in their simplicity and straightforwardness. "Around the Island" is literally a tour; "Great Mystery" is a creation myth. Barry's vocals are effervescent, a wisp you can't quite a get grip on, but not always perfectly pitched or full of body. If they were you'd be suspicious.

While she doesn't employ little kids like Kimya Dawson's great Alphabutt, nor go for big arrangements like the classic Free to Be... You and Me or Really Rosie, Barry does manage that most-difficult of tasks. She makes children's music that's not childish. Some of the tunes here I'd love to hear fleshed out into full indie-rock arrangements, but nothing's half-baked or dumbed-down.

The one thing I can certainly get with here is the sense of wonder Barry conveys. It's definitely true that we too often take our world's splendor for granted. Barry doesn't.

A PINK WHALE AND A VERY TALL TREE | Released by Shana Barry | www.theshaggallery.com

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: Heck of a Guy, Coney Island high, Worcester Rising, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Worcester, Kimya Dawson, Elliott Smith,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIVING WITH SNAEX  |  November 03, 2014
    Snaex's new record The 10,000 Things is all a big fuck you to what? Us? Lingering dreams of making music for others to consume? Society at large?  
  •   THE BIG MUDDY  |  October 24, 2014
    Some people just want it more.
  •   TALL HORSE, SHORT ALBUM  |  October 16, 2014
    If Slainte did nothing more than allow Nick Poulin the time and space to get Tall Horse together, its legacy may be pretty well secure. Who knows what will eventually come of the band, but Glue, as a six-song introduction to the world, is a damn fine work filled with highly listenable, ’90s-style indie rock.
  •   REVIVING VIVA NUEVA  |  October 11, 2014
    15 years ago last week, Rustic Overtones appeared on the cover of the third-ever issue of the Portland Phoenix .
  •   RODGERS, OVER AND OUT  |  October 11, 2014
    It’s been a long time since standing up and pounding on a piano and belting out lyrics has been much of a thing.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE