BRIAN BARNHOUSE – Sign Of Life (2018)
Today we present here in exclusive “Sign Of Life“, the just released second album from American musician / songwriter BRIAN BARNHOUSE, a delicious Melodic Rock album with that late ’80s sweet feel.
The history of Nebraska born Brian Barnhouse goes back to the early ’90s when he was a member of hard rock bands like Rayze and Mother Tung, which played a style considered old-fashioned during the depressive grunge years. Barnhouse recorded a couple of demos, bt the industry wasn’t interested in this type of music at the moment.
After a hiatus of almost 15 years he released by himself his first solo album “Clarified” in 2014. Produced by AXE mastermind Bobby Barth it gave Brian a pretty good start.
Four years later Brian is back with his 2nd solo album “Sign Of Life” and the result is simply stunning. Already the production sounds like a million bucks for an indie and the songs are pure Melodic Rock gold with a late 80s / early 90s vibe yet updated sound.
The first song, “One In A Million” is an atmospheric rocker in the spirit of ’80s Corey Hart and Jon Bon Jovi. Brian has a touch of old Bon Jovi in his voice, but he is a very unique and distinctive vocalist. The song is embellished with ‘that’ keyboards and clean, pristine guitars.
‘Your Song’ would have been released as a single in 1989, it had me at the opening guitar intro. ‘Wrapped Up With You’ has a Bryan Adams vibe (think ‘It’s Only Love’). The production is crisp and melodic and the vocals are clear and powerful.
There is a real difference between this material and about 90 percent of the today’s American rock scene. These appear to be ‘complete’ ideas.
The album’s title track opens with a busy guitar line followed by some punchy drums and bass. The song goes from sparse to a cacophony. It’s a tapestry of 80’s lyrical ideas, not stolen, but borrowed and then reinvigorated.
“The Letting Go” is a song about lost love and regret. Brian’s voice goes from betrayed and strained to smooth and reassuring. Vocally Barnhouse has excellent range and emotion. He really pours himself into these ideas.
“Best of Me” would be my 2nd single, catchy and sweet. It has this superb opening salvo of melodic guitar followed by a more stripped down approach, followed again by a melodious burst of vocals, guitars and background vocals. A highlight.
“All Is Fair” is another catchy guitar song with a large 80’s footprint. Another potential single. Definitely mainstream melodic rock radio material circa 1987.
“Smooth” is just that, a fine midtempo tune with acoustic guitars that easily could have made it into the charts 30 or so years ago. The song rocks out enough to maybe be called a power ballad.
“When I Found You” starts off poppy but then finds its own groove with interesting chord changes. The bridge in this song is very compelling and is something more than expected.
The album closes down with “Held Up High”, wirh a steady beat and more of the aforementioned melodic goodness. The chorus instantly catches you and doesn’t let you go.
To conclude, music like this isn’t being made anymore, especially in America. It’s thoughtful, well written. The hooks on this record are big and bold, while production is full and glossy and prompts you to listen loud.
The current melodic rock typically doesn’t use as many notes and chords as Brian does here.
Putting together steady rhythms, proficient guitar work, and wonderful vocal harmonies, the combination becomes quite potent. Brian Barnhouse definitely knows how to sing a tune.
The songs are exciting and the music culls the best ideas from the golden melodic rock era. I am very impressed with this gifted singer, guitarist and songwriter, definitely an artist to keep an eye on.
The album is available at AOR Heaven’s store in Europe, go and buy it.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
01 – One in a Million
02 – Your Song
03 – Wrapped up with You
04 – Sign of Life
05 – The Letting Go
06 – Best of Me
07 – All Is Fair
08 – Smooth
09 – When I Found You
10 – Held up High
BUY IT !