I'm From Barcelona inspires conflicting emotions: happiness, nostalgia, nauseousness etc... - Oh My Rockness

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I'm From Barcelona inspires conflicting emotions: happiness, nostalgia, nauseousness etc...

July 30, 2007
You've got two chances to see I'm From Barcelona in Brooklyn this week. The band of a billion members will play the lovely McCarren Park Pool (that stage should be big enough to fit them) on August 5th with Blonde Redhead (!) and Southpaw (no way will that stage be big enough to fit them) on August 6th with The Harlem Shakes. What's that, you say? Don't know much about this band with the deceiving name? Well, read on, my friends. Read on. I like I'm From Barcelona, but I can definitely see how one could find this impossibly sweet and sunny Swedish band slightly nauseating. I mean, they do have an entire song devoted to building a treehouse and another one about the chicken pox. And they do have 29 (29?!) happy and homogeneously attractive group members that makes one wonder if this is a band or perhaps some strange cult... at least they don't wear white robes. Not only that, but many of the chosen 29 play kazoos. Kazoos!

But, what can I say, I still like them. Never one for twee, for some reason I'm From Barcelona gets a goofy pass even though they are undeniably cheesy. But it's nostalgic cheese. Their uplifting music (which constantly reassures the listener that "everything will be ok") reminds me of being young, when I didn't even know what the word cynical meant ("Is that, like, a bike part?"). Just know what I'm From Barcelona is all about before you go into it. Otherwise, caught unawares, you might scrunch up your nose at them.

Did I mention that the mighty Blonde Redhead is the headliner of the McCarren Pool show?! This NYC band has been so good for so long it's as if people started taking them for granted. But in case you missed the B.R. train, the group has often been compared in the past to Sonic Youth thanks to their no-wave, noisy art-rock tendencies. (Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley released Blonde Redhead's debut on his label, Smells Likes Records, way back in 1995). But slowly the Sonic Youth analogies have faded away as the band put out one stellar release after another, changing their sound to reflect their growing inspirations as musicians. These days their sound is a little darker, but still kind of rocks out in its own way.

In fact, most of you are probably going to the McCarren show just to see Blonde Redhead. But don't forget to come early to check out I'm From Barcelona too. You may love what you hear. Or you may gag. That's up to your mood.

I'm From Barcelona plays McCarren Park Pool (with Blonde Redhead) on Sunday, August 5th, and Southpaw, on Monday, August 6th.


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