Eef Barzelay - "Lose Big"

As the principal creative force behind the now retired Clem Snide, Eef Barzelay has already left behind quite a noted legacy. From their moody, quiet 1998 debut, You Were A Diamond, to 2005’s cathartic End Of Love the band showed off their penchant for deliciously weird Americana. Barzelay’s nasally vocals and bitingly sardonic lyrics were always at the fore - dual instruments that determined how much love you were willing to give the band. Their high point was 2001’s The Ghost Of Fashion - a swaggering set of horn-driven folk-rock that reveled in its derision of celebrity (non)culture and consumerism that still sits high among my favorite albums of the decade.

Save some of the heartfelt love songs on 2003’s Soft Spot, Barzelay has always kept a good distance between the song and the writer. With Lose Big, his second foray into the world of solo artist, that has started to change. Lose Big finds Barzelay becoming comfortable penning some of the first personal songs of his career, and the results suit him just fine. These are some of the best songs he’s written since End Of Love and should catapult him back into the indie-spotlight.

My favorite song so far is the album’s unabashed centerpiece - the haunting “Apocalyptic Friend”. It’s a slow-burning mini-epic that finds Eef in full on spiritual questioning mode. Listen to that one here. Other highlights include “The Girls Don’t Care” - a playful tune about what it takes to appeal to the female fans, and “Lose Big”, which was inspired by his experiences watching the workings of music industry (and the people trying to make it there) up close after his move to Nashville. Overall, Lose Big is a more band oriented record than 2006’s Bitter Honey (thought there are a few acoustic tracks towards the album's end), and fans of Clem Snide will find plenty to take their minds off losing one of their favorite bands.

MP3 :: The Girls Don’t Care
MP3 :: Lose Big
(from Lose Big. Buy here)

And the video for “Lose Big”:


1 comment:

Mark Cougar Rosenblatt said...

LOSE BIG is an unadulterated gem. As James notes (above), APOCALYPTIC FRIEND is the centerpiece of LOSE BIG, a burner that continues Eef's interest in the fallacies of fundamentalist religious belief (see JEWS FOR JESUS BLUES on Clem Snide's END OF LOVE CD). COULD BE WORSE is another out-and-out killer track -- a la Eef -- meaning brilliant wordplay and equally brilliant stripped down slash-and-burn arrangement.

Barzelay keeps getting better as a writer, and this album moves him closer to an edgier, and dare I say desperate -- OK, d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e -- sound.

Easily a Top Ten album of 2008.