Artist Review: Barendo – “Contradictions and Disconnections” LP

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

With keyboard-fronted melodies and viscerally dark vocals, Netherlands-based artist Barendo proves that the craft of his new album Contradictions and Disconnections is brilliantly themed and hauntingly original.

Concept albums are especially rare nowadays, especially ones that are effective and well executed. However Barendo‘s Contradictions and Disconnections is a rare gem in this caliber, and has written and composed a record that encompasses shades of both originality and familiarity. With each track sharing the theme of the title, containing a contradiction or disconnection, we get an exercise of beautifully accented progressions and atmospheric landscapes in every measure as Barendo embraces us with a signature sound that is melodically dark and full of textures.

His vocal range is very appropriate for his style, which blends artistic elements reminiscent of David Bowie and The Cure. It’s hard to put him into just one category, and that’s one of my favorite things about Barendo – his versatility. He extracts many authentic blends of several genres and never makes anything obvious about his sound. It’ll keep you guessing, perhaps debating. But all you know is that it’s very beautifully crafted, articulate, and stays true to the atmosphere of the album as a whole without being repetitive. He’s an original of his own right.

His vocal melody placements parallel each other perfectly in every track, and deliver up vocal content that is almost like whispering secrets into your ear. It’s ominous, dark, and soothingly ambient with an array of emotions when you truly listen to the lyrics. This is an album that is multi-layered and multifaceted in its concept, and Barendo never wavers from this aspect throughout every track.

Also, this is his debut album. His first release. Which is a big surprise granted that it’s gonna leave you very curious with what he puts out next. Some artists take several trials and tribulations to find their niche and authenticity, but Barendo definitely gets it right on the first try with Contradictions and Disconnections. It’s an album that is interesting, isn’t rushed, and has a lot of character depth and artistic merit. It truly knocked my wind out to know that this is a debut record, and scares me as to what tricks he has up his sleeves when he hits the studio again.

Contradictions and Disconnections is uniquely original and has endless likability factors that show several angles of Barendo‘s artistic glow. He’s like candle light, but never burns out. A glow stick that never loses its color. And delivers up a collection of songs that will stick with you throughout its duration. If you love concept albums with actual meaning behind them and songs with real musicianship qualities, then this record is a must-listen. You’ll be glad you did.

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