The Barstool Philosophers, Sparrows, 2008
This début by The Barstool Philosophers (what’s in a name) has turned out to be quite the surprise. The quintet have delivered a very interesting and entertaining progressive rock album. Independently produced (by keyboarder René Kroon) and released, they managed to set the bar. Everything, from sound to imagery, and from songs to execution is done with class and style.
Singer Leon Brouwer sounds like a cross between David Bowie and Geoff Tate. Sometimes his tone is a bit light, but nevertheless I consider him a true find with a convincing delivery and a lot of possibilities. Guitars switch between heavy riffing (though the band hardly sound metal like). melodic solos and clean parts, the keyboards add dimension to all arrangements and drum and bass provide the solid foundation.
As we expect in this genre, the album holds 9 songs ranging from 5 to 8 minutes and all trademarks are there. We get multi faceted tracks with instrumental parts and vocal melodies. Not all is instant, but that only goes to prove that this type of music grows on repeated play.
For lovers of the style, you know what to do!