Don't Leave Niki Alone
Bruce Von Stiers
Every once in a while I come across a real talented entertainer who hasn't quite made the top tier to become a household name. One such entertainer is Niki Barr. She has been gaining recognition along the East Coast and in certain venues. Niki has just recorded and released a full length album titled LUSH. It features some really hard hitting power pop music.
For LUSH, Niki brought together some rather good musicians. Michael Sauri, formerly of Fighting Gravity, is the lead guitarist for Niki's band. Nate Brown played with the band Everything and is Niki's drummer. Andy Waldeck had his own band, Earth To Andy, before signing on as the bass player for Niki.
Niki helped write the songs on the album. Sharing the writing credits on the album with her are Butch Walker, Bruce Brody, Eric Scott, The Matrix and Matthew Girrard.
Some of the songs on the album are ballads; others are more of an edgy pop styling. There are 12songs in all. The album has a run time of a little over 52 minutes.
Wasted Time is the first track. It starts out with an almost Ramones styled guitar riff. Then it moves into a hot pop grind. Niki's vocals are distinct, showing that she is definitely in control.
Nothing At All is one of the ballad songs that I mentioned earlier. It has some light pop background music. It shows that Niki isn't just one of those posers who try to throw junk together and call it power pop. Niki can actually carry a song, whether is be fast and furious or slow and steady.
In fact, one of the press releases for Niki goes after some of the current pop icons. It quotes a Washington Post article that said “Avril Lavigne could learn a thing or two from Barr, including how to actually play an instrument and rock the house.”
That in itself is a little harsh, but when you listen to LUSH, you will want more of Niki, including wanting to go see her perform live. But most of her current concert schedule has her in Virginia , Maryland and the Washington D.C. area. She is based in Maryland , so that makes sense. Niki does have one concert scheduled in August of 2005 at the Tribeca Rock Club in New York . There are a lot of top acts who play that venue, so Niki is in good company.
Holiday starts out slow then builds to a steady pace. Leave It Alone is about my favorite song on the album. It deals with not wanting someone knowing about her past. It has some cool music, with Niki being a little bit in–your-face about prior life experiences.
Used To Be Me starts out as another ballad styled song. It begins slow and builds into a steady pace with the chorus. The song has an awesome guitar riff at the end of each chorus. Sooner Or Later might just remind you of power pop music from a decade or so ago. It has some intense energy with great vocals by Niki and hot music.
Listening to the chorus of So Far Away made me think of some of the slower songs from Heart. Getaway has a smoky, taut guitar riff to start it out.
If there is one album to add to your “gotta have” list for power pop music, then LUSH should be it. Niki Barr has a great voice, fantastic energy and a band that makes her music really stand out.
Niki has short clips of songs from LUSH available on her web site. You can also order a Limited Edition copy of LUSH with a bunch of extras. The Niki Barr web site can be found at www.nikibarr.com .
© 2005 Bruce E Von Stiers