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Fartbarf - Dirty Power

06-02-2015 | By Jimmy Bustillos | Issue 79

Fartbarf Dirty Power

Here is a band that changed the way I view Neanderthals. Most people might see a caveman, or a Neanderthal, and instinctively see the old Geico commercials run through their mind. This is clearly not the case with Fartbarf. They are wild, energetic, comedic, brazen, outlandish, and enthralling to see live. Josh McLeod, Dan Burley, and Brian Brunac are much more exciting than those Neanderthals from Geico could ever be, and their synth-analogue-vocoder-live drumming tracks prove it. They just kick ass. Seriously, they do. I don't know what else I could say to describe them, but I will give it the ol' college try.

The three amigos banded together to form this unique, catchy, melodic, and hard hitting album called Dirty Power. This album sounds like these songs came from the future and crash landed on an 80's vintage synthesizer store on top of Robocop while he was watching the Flintstones and fighting the Terminator at the same time.

Right off the bat, Farbarf's first track brings the listener into something out of this world. "Homeless in Heathrow" starts with a bass filled undertone, and as the drums pick up it becomes a dancing synth track. Strong vibrato under the keystrokes of the synth make the bass really distorted and pulsating, creating a raw heavy sound that is not heard with a regular bass. The vocals are fuzzy and robotic like, but very catchy and enjoyable to the ear. The way they use the vocals within the song only compliments the bouncy movement of the drums, synthesizers, and shooting laser effects. As the song progresses the synth leads get more creative and form a short stylistic type of solo. All the while the synths and drum work keep the listener in a dancing groove. It is a fantastic track to start the album no doubt about it.

I really like their second track "Panopticon" because of the simplicity of the song. The lyrics themselves are also very simple. It's basically a song depicting beer, bar fights, and Gwar thrown in there just for the hell of it. I feel like the lyrics are made just to play with the listener, so that they can make their own associations and maybe make up words along with the band. This track is slower than their first track, but it still has a nice slow up beat groove to it. My favorite thing about the track is the lead synth chorus with the trance melody in the background. There is also an up tempo change around the two minute mark just after the synth solo where the drums go into a breakdown, then speed up again. Those little changes make this track very approachable and enjoyable.

"Mission At Hand" has such a great spacey retro video game intro, which eventually becomes the chorus/verse. The melody itself screams of vintage analogue, vocoder, and pulsating saws synths. It's such an interesting melody because it is such a scrambled robotic analogue sound, yet they were able to develop a full track around it. They use a nice deep wavy synth sound behind the retro lead melody and the vocals themselves ride smoothly between the lead and background.

Another favorite is "All Systems Go!" This track has more of a modern twist to it, but with an 80's groove as well. I'd say it's something along the lines of what you would hear if Devo decided to make a heavy electro groove house track, only with vocoder styled vocals. This song has some cool stabs and hits that progress with vibrato underneath. The lyrics represent the song completely by making people want to dance. It's just all about dancing, moving, popping, and locking. It is something that unquestionably goes being unsaid.

Undeniably, Fartbarf gets people dancing. These three local Los Angeles based Neanderthals have a great unique sound that I believe sounds even better live. Dirty Power is simply a gem of an album that gives people a chance to hear something different, raw, and vibrant among a sea of pop radio stations. Do yourself a favor though, if this review does not convince you to at least hear the album; then go online, look for the next Fartbarf show, grab your dancing shoes and get ready to dance, move, and pop and lock as you hear some great songs from the best Neanderthals you've ever seen! By the way, these guys are always touring, so like I said do try and catch them live, because the songs really resonate in person. No doubt this album is a solid 10 out of 10!