Steve Barton 

Charm Offensive

The New Wave markers of Steve Barton's tenure with '80s band Translator are all over this US solo debut, but blended smoothly into a revitalized palette of power-pop, with flecks of soul, funk, and psychedelia. An ongoing fascination with the British Invasion is also evident in the Kinks-inspired riff of "When You're Gone," a headbanging cover of the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home," and the fine original rave-ups "Bertha Jane" and "Hold a Shadow Down." Barton writes with the growing confidence of middle age, but still leavened by hints of self-doubt, echoed musically in the propulsive rhythms of "Shy" and "Tina Finds the Silences," and the melancholy baritone guitar of the ballad "Monument." Twenty years removed from his original spotlight, Barton is fresher and more energized than ever -- fans of his earlier work will hear familiar sounds, but more important, this is a great spin for anyone who loves power-pop.

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