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I'm from Barcelona - Who Killed Harry Houdini? Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 7.25
Production 9
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 6.5
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 80%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.13
Musicianship 6.56
Lyrics 5.81
Production 6.44
Creativity 6.13
Lasting Value 5.75
Reviewer Tilt 6.44
Average: 62%

I'm from Barcelona - Who Killed Harry Houdini?

Reviewed by: Blake Solomon (09/29/08)
I’m From BarcelonaWho Killed Harry Houdini?
Record Label: Mute Records
Release Date: October 14, 2008


A sense of bewilderment comes packaged with every copy of Who Killed Harry Houdini?. When your fans are used to cutesy songs about stamps, awesome tree houses and the like, moments of emotional depth and electric guitar may startle the faithful few. There’s no real way to compare a song like “Gunhild” to anything else in I’m From Barcelona’s canon – even Let Me Introduce My Friends’ ballad “The Saddest Lullaby” complicates itself with horns and downtrodden backing vocals. Achingly slow and gorgeously beautiful, Emanuel Lundgren and French singer SoKo harmonize with the fragility of young love: “It’s only water in your eyes / It’s only words out of your mouth / It’s only me out hear tonight / And it’s only you I want to find.” A slight electronic drumbeat and campfire acoustic guitar never bounces back into bliss. The song never erupts into a friendly gang chorus. And because of this, it’s the best song Lundgren has ever composed.

There’s still plenty of playful, Swedish twee, though, but this time it comes with even more bite. “Mingus” opens with handclaps, saxophone and smiles from every direction. The lyrics sing of a man with a great family and terrible job. Lundgren laments becoming this man: “If I ever grow up / And if I give it a shot / Will I remember what we used to say?” Sublime “ba ba”’s round out the chorus and we aren’t sure what to think. Single “Paper Planes” sounds very reminiscent of Let Me Introduce My Friends. Tinkling percussion, brass instruments, clarinet, aqueous piano and a huge chorus will help make the jump to songs like “Gunhild” or slightly psychadelic “Music Killed Me” a bit less scary. The record isn’t necessarily more mature, as can be deduced from lines like, “They can take me anywhere I want / I put my records on,” but it is decidedly less cute. You won’t have to wear one of those yarmulke-esque hats with the toy propeller on top to jam Who Killed Harry Houdini?.

As is their usual fashion, IFB don’t keep you for long. 10 songs in less than 40 minutes make this album extremely digestible, even if the finale is a smidge over 7 minutes. “Rufus” brings in the electric guitar for a retro lovers' dream song. It’s a combination of IFB’s usually orchestral pop and a southern rock ballad. The song builds early into a handclap/choral section that is wonderfully introduced by the airiness of a flute. "Rufus" is long because it has to be. A portion of each song is (not quite literally) placed – and for the most part perfected - inside it. For example, earlier on we have “Houdini” and its rock-oriented sound. It nearly falls flat because this is the only song that sounds like it was created by 4 instead of 20+. The closer, however, embraces the rock and juxtaposes it next to the pop in the smartest of ways. “Rufus” has a big sound and it never feels cluttered, which is obviously the band’s greatest strength. Take a bunch of overwhelming influences and quantities, and then mash them together into something light, smart and easily lovable.


Recommended If You Like: Beulah in love, Jens Lekman, random dance moments, Architecture in Helsinki, Broken Social Scene at its most serene, twittering birds


Don't Be Afraid.www.myspace.com/imfrombarcelona
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20.
03:38 PM on 09/29/08
#2
underthetalking
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I enjoyed Let Me Introduce My Friends and this review got me pretty interested in this release that I otherwise had no idea about. Nicely done.
07:48 AM on 09/30/08
#3
FeynmanWannabe
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Been pretty excited to hear this one.
08:05 AM on 09/30/08
#4
BurgundyBalloon
now here is nowhere.
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Let Me Introduce My Friends was a really fresh album, though I'm glad to hear that this is something different.

Definitely buying this.
08:29 AM on 09/30/08
#5
absolutecrunnk
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download worthy cd, very unique band
09:02 AM on 09/30/08
#6
Finch076
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for good swedish "twee pop", listen to Hello Saferide. It is much more charming, to me at least, than I'm from Barcelona. But that's my two cents.
09:27 AM on 09/30/08
#7
Özgür Kurtoglu
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for good swedish "twee pop", listen to Hello Saferide. It is much more charming, to me at least, than I'm from Barcelona. But that's my two cents.

Oh, how I loathe Annika Norlin's music...
10:02 AM on 09/30/08
#8
Blake Solomon
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Oh, how I loathe Annika Norlin's music...


waht do you think of this release?
10:08 AM on 09/30/08
#9
Özgür Kurtoglu
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waht do you think of this release?

I don't know, man. Everybody at work adores all of this stuff that you guys gobble up: Hello Saferide, Jens Lekman, Shout Out Louds, Firefox AK and a million other bands that I just can't grasp or get or just..like. 90% of the stuff we report on is indie, so I get pretty sick of it pretty quickly.
10:16 AM on 09/30/08
Finch076
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I don't know, man. Everybody at work adores all of this stuff that you guys gobble up: Hello Saferide, Jens Lekman, Shout Out Louds, Firefox AK and a million other bands that I just can't grasp or get or just..like. 90% of the stuff we report on is indie, so I get pretty sick of it pretty quickly.

This site needs to post more on Hello Saferide. Her new cd is sensational.

Same with Anna Ternheim. I heard she has a new cd coming November...and yet I have not seen a mention of it on this site. Disappointing.
10:22 AM on 09/30/08
Özgür Kurtoglu
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This site needs to post more on Hello Saferide. Her new cd is sensational.

Same with Anna Ternheim. I heard she has a new cd coming November...and yet I have not seen a mention of it on this site. Disappointing.

See, that's the woman I can't stand: Annika Norlin. I just don't see the charm or the brilliance, sadly perhaps.


Quote:
"Leaving on a mayday - album release nov. 12th"
From Anna's MySpace. But I do see it there either, nor do I get what the deal is with the rest of the Swedish stuff everybody everywhere loves. But..Anna has a acoustic version of her single available for download on her website.
10:38 AM on 09/30/08
Finch076
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See, that's the woman I can't stand: Annika Norlin. I just don't see the charm or the brilliance, sadly perhaps.

There's no brilliance with Hello Saferide. It's all charm...and that's what you're missing. but, as with all music, it's not for everyone.

And swedish music is just so much better than american stuff. it's more talented, catchier and just less formulaic (or so i think). I heard that Ternheim song last week....it's good...but i'm ready for the full version and, subsequently, a new full length (Nov 12!)
10:52 AM on 09/30/08
Özgür Kurtoglu
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There's no brilliance with Hello Saferide. It's all charm...and that's what you're missing. but, as with all music, it's not for everyone.

And swedish music is just so much better than american stuff. it's more talented, catchier and just less formulaic (or so i think). I heard that Ternheim song last week....it's good...but i'm ready for the full version and, subsequently, a new full length (Nov 12!)

I thought so...that's what I told my colleagues but they just laughed and said something like "go listen to metal, metalkid..". Not really, but they might as well have!

You really think so? Do you listen to anything else from here other than indie?
06:07 PM on 09/30/08
Finch076
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I thought so...that's what I told my colleagues but they just laughed and said something like "go listen to metal, metalkid..". Not really, but they might as well have!

You really think so? Do you listen to anything else from here other than indie?

not typically. but i'm open for suggestions if you have any good, current swedish recs for me.

new music is always a good thing.
02:02 AM on 10/01/08
Özgür Kurtoglu
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not typically. but i'm open for suggestions if you have any good, current swedish recs for me.

new music is always a good thing.

Hm...I'm just going to list a bunch of bands from every possible genre that happen to come from Sweden, and hopefully you'll enjoy some of it. I'll put my favourites in bold. Get back to me if you do like 'em:

Monde Yeux, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Cult of Luna, AC4, Laakso, Teddybears STHLM, Moneybrother, Familjen, Tiger Lou, In Flames, bob hund, Adam Tensta, Prime Ape Got The Blues, José Gonzáles, Shout Out Louds, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Mando Diao, Kleerup, Robyn and...that should do it.
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