Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thom Barker Band: All The Same To Me

The first of the two 1996 Thom Barker Band demos was All The Same To Me.

All The Same To Me

This song has all the elements of a classic Thom Barker song: happy-catchy music, despondent lyrics, hooky Chénier guitar themes, sloppy overplayed bass and horrible backing vocals.

The first thing that jumps out at me is how over-compressed the drums are. Sure, it makes them sound nice and punchy. And it was the '90s. But man, that's a lot of compression.

Second thing is Chris' electric theme. He has this knack for coming up with a hook that's completely original, but ends up defining the song. Underneath, the acoustic and bass just repeat I-vi-IV-V (the Heart and Soul chords... and a million other pop songs). Chris' hook gives it its own character.

The bridge (at 2:03) is a departure for a Thom Barker song. I can't think of another one like it. I'm pretty sure Thom had the idea of breaking down to a half-tempo version of the chorus. I think it was also his idea to switch to 6/8 time. I do remember working it out on my SY77 sequencer to show the band how to get in and out of it. We never quite got it right, though. We got into it ok, but tended to rush the half time a little. And the band was never really comfortable coming back out. You can hear in the recording that the outro chorus is a little slower than the beginning of the song. It's maybe 8-10 bpm (about 5%) slower. The highlight of the bridge for me is Chris' harmonic embellishments. Any time he accuses me of playing too many chord extensions I can point him here. Who's the jazz-head now, eh?

1 comment:

  1. So what does a guitarist do when he can't handle a time switch? He becomes a jazz-head so no one can say his timing is off.

    I have to say that I'm not a fan of the lead lick, it's pretty basic AND repeats! I know I'm lazy, but geez, I could of come up with something different!

    I do like the rhythm parts though.