REVIEW: National Barks - 'Something I Can't Shake Off'
Residing in the depths of Cincinnati, Ohio, National Barks have adopted a sound unlike any other. Named after the haunting howls of founder member Adham Brandt’s dogs that featured on their early demo recordings, National Barks “explores a side of rock that will make you feel like you're riding along with the gang solving mysteries or watching a closeup shot of Uma Thurman's Feet.”
Initially composed of Brandt (guitar & vocals) and co-founder Jeffrey Earl (drums & vocals), the duo have gone through a series of roster changes over the years as they fine-tuned the unique sound they have established, now completed with the addition of Joe Memory (bass). Dark moody tones with elements of rock & roll and funky grooves is certainly a way to capture the dynamic trio’s spooky yet inviting vibe.
Their debut EP ‘National Barks’ combined their influences of punk and prog rock with the 1950s and 60s pop they had been exposed to growing up, and this retro sound certainly can be recognised in their most recent EP ‘Something I Can’t Shake Off’. While their second EP ‘Pupcake’ takes a slightly darker, more serious turn, their newest releases showcases a lighter, surfy, rock and roll stance, still rife with their notorious haunting riffs and mystery-evoking chords across each track.
“This EP captured our vision and concept more than any of our previous records“ – Jeff
“The goal of our latest set of songs was to have the listener feel like they found a long lost Rock ’n’ Roll record from their cool uncle’s collection. The retro vibe, combined with our constant quest to find new modern tones and textures helped us create a set of songs that captures what we like about both generations of music. Lyrically, the goal was to create imagery to place the listener in spaghetti westerns, psychological thrillers, and retro creature-feature films – all while maintaining a modern and relatable connection to each story. Personally, these songs were the most fun for me to work on so far – not only because the themes and ideas were fun, but because it was the most collaborative songwriting effort that we experienced as a band up to this point. We also had a lot of support from the sound wizards at Sabbath Recording and The Marble Garden. They were completely on board with our ideas, excited about the project, and were not satisfied until we found the exact sound and feel we wanted to achieve.” – Adam
“Production, engineering, mixing, and moral support from Jacob Merritt (Pomegranates, Sabbath Recording), Isaac Karns (Pomegranates, The Marble Garden), and Matt Latchaw (Sabbath Recording, Moriah Pie) really helped us bring this project to life, and we can’t thank them enough. I can’t believe they still tolerate us after what we put them through.” – Joe
“My only regret is not adding more vibraslap” – Joe
Follow National Barks here: https://www.instagram.com/nationalbarksmusic/
Stream their new EP on all streaming platforms: https://songwhip.com/nationalbarks/something-i-cant-shake-off