By: Eric G.
I had long thought indie-pop been dead and a relic of the early nineties, but this record proved me wrong. Barcelona plays unabashedly happy guitar pop with deliberately nerdish boy-meets-girl vocals, catchy moog lines, and hook-infested choruses. This could have come out on K Records in 1991 and fit in perfectly except for, maybe, the new wave influence. The keyboard line in “Why Do You Have So Much Fun Without Me?” is straight off Depeche Mode’s Speak And Spell, but as soon as the vocals come in the song takes on a whole new shape: ” I stay up late on IRC/I hide out in my room and read for hours.”
Barcelona isn’t trying to break new ground. This is just music for fun. It’s silly and slightly angst-ridden in a teenage outcast sort of way. The lyrics uncover the not-so-typical insecurities of a computer geek (“The Downside Of Computer Camp”). The male/female vocal trade off sounds like the guy from the Dead Milkmen singing with Juliana Hatfield, which really isn’t a bad combination under the circumstances. Barcelona has an ear for a sunny pop ditty. This record is a non-stop collection of peppy hooks and clever pop riffs. The moog is an unnecessary throwback because the guitars stand up on their own. It sounds sentimental on some songs (“Fabled Age”), but it steals the show on others (“I Know What You Think Of Me”).
Simon Basic is hard not to like. It’s simple, unpretentious pop music for people nostalgic for Commodore 64’s, Kurt Vonnegut, and math class.