Home could not be more of an appropriate title for this collection of songs. This 5-track EP is a lo-fi solo experiment from London based Student Alex Barty-King. Every track here sounds very much like its pulling at the numerous influences that every musician has. At times you can hear Local Natives or lo-fi veterans Belle & Sebastian, but the biggest stylistic debt here is to New Yorkers, The Strokes. Lyrically Home follows in the great tradition of talking about the short comings of where you grew up and the characters one finds there.
The thing that grabs me the most about these songs is the production. They are lo-fi, very much so, and that can be no bad thing when executed properly – artists go to great lengths to get ‘that’ perfect sound. But on Home it is lo-fi to such an extent you can practically hear the patterned wallpaper of the bedroom in which it was recorded. ‘I’m Honest’ and the two part ‘Home’ sound very much like they were written by a guitarist who then filled in the gaps around the riffs to produce a fuller sound. Being a solo artist is a challenge at the best of times but writing, playing and producing a full band sound on your own can leave you talents stretched thin. Any musician naturally plays to their strengths, and in this case you can hear that the vocals and guitar have received a lot more attention than the full sound and production.
Home shows that Barty-King has a great talent and some very good ideas behind his song writing, but at the same time this EP demonstrates the common problem with the modern DIY ethic; the need for an outsider to offer an alternative opinion. Bring in a producer to hone the ideas and create a cohesive sound (and perhaps to make you remove that cow sample!), then you can take great ideas and make them into a great final product.
Alex Barty-King shows that he really knows how to write a song and to get his ideas out, but perhaps if he had left Home and got the little bit of help he needs in adding the polish these songs need, then this could be something quite exciting. Certainly someone to watch the progress of.