Anton Barbeau In The Village Of The Apple Sun

Any artist who gets to the point in their career where they are releasing album numbers ten and 11 simultaneously must either be very prolific or very persistent, and it looks like Sacramento’s Anton Barbeau might be both. Incredibly, Barbeau has been making records since 1993, yet he is still a relative unknown with a devoted inner circle of fans who realise his cult-like genius. This could change soon thanks to a brace of new releases, which simply reinforce what that inner circle have known for some time. In The Village Of The Apple Sun, the poppier of the two albums, will appeal to fans of XTC, Bevis Frond and even Robyn Hitchcock because he also has a good ear for finding the balance between melody and psychedelic freak-outs. Those looking for freakier outbursts with a touch of Krautrock should check out companion album Drug Free, but most people will find themselves succumbing to songs like "This Is Why They Call Me Guru 7” after just one listen. Unfortunately there are a few too many short interludes punctuating the proceedings and while they might be there to ensure that the songs all flow together, they don’t. Instead, it feels like Barbeau forgot to stop the four-track between songs and listeners are getting the entire session, warts and all. Still, that’s a small complaint and In The Village Of The Apple Sun could turn out to be one of 2007’s first big surprises. (Four-Way)