This four-song EP from bluesy British power trio Little Barrie came highly recommended by no less an authority than legendary Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin, who’s a big fan (and label mate). And it’s easy to see why. These three gents mash up funk and blues and soul in an inventive way, taking a simple approach, eschewing excessive studio tricknology. But the raw method works ’cause these Camden boys can sho’nuff play; guitarist and singer Barrie Cadogan is a ball of fire, peeling off tortured leads and propulsive rhythm parts, drummer Wayne Fulwood lays down tight, funky, almost Clyde Stubblefield-like beats and bassist Lewis Wharton plays liquid, loping lines. The elements combine in a way that reminds us all that loops sound way cooler when they’re played by real musicians in real time.
Opening track “Burned Out” contains hip-hop elements and is crying out to be sampled by the bling-bling set. “Be The One” is frantic and nearly Grand Funkian (in the best sense of that term possible). “Thinking on the Mind” is downtempo but intensely psychedelic. “Mud Sticks” is a soaring instrumental jam.
The result is a raw slab of danceable grooves that has the main deficiency of being too short — the recording clocks in at less than 14 minutes, to be exact. Here’s looking forward to the band’s stateside debut full-length due in June. It seems like they should be able to pitch a wang-dang-doodle all night long.
Brian J. Bowe writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].