Tim Barry – Laurel St. Demo 2005

Tim Barry
Laurel St. Demo 2005

You cannot help but notice that punk-rock frontmen often try solo opportunities. Greg Gaffin from Bad Religion is just one of many recent examples. Avail singer Tim Barry is another new recruit to the club. Bluntly titled Laurel St. Demo 2005, it’s an acoustic endeavor with a narrative point of view. The combination is simple, predominantly just a man and his guitar, without any production gloss.

“Idle Idylist” brings the sound to life with a pinch of electric guitar. Besides having vocals too loud in the mix, there’s not a lot to moan about. Barry’s hardened voice is honest and full of emotion, used best in outbursts like “Sorrow Floats.” The rest of the song doesn’t carry the energy at all, which is a downer.

I’d have to say his voice and lyrics are the highlight of everything. That’s exactly where I see the Bruce Springsteen influence. The acoustic guitar and subtle accompaniment don’t harbor enough hook-power. Material wise, Barry’s songs are more laid-back and generic compared to Springsteen. “Ain’t Right Sure” just putters along, and my interest trails off. I’m sure he meant for the sleepy, slow-paced approach, but I’d be real interested if Barry mixed things up.

For rough demos not even meant to be released, these are good tunes. I kind of expect that this will slip under the radar, as the label is located overseas. Not all of the songs are equally strong, but most people who take the time to find this release would probably like something about it.