steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

This Bank Holiday

"Home Time is Safe Time" CDR

Asaurus Records

Genres: lo-fi, DIY, indie pop

Asaurus Records
PO Box 0664
Allen Park, MI

Aug 27 - Sep 3 2004

Matthew Baringer records experimental pop songs with absurdist song titles and lo-fi recording values that would put Guided By Voices to shame.  This Bank Holiday is his main project, and Home Time is Safe Time is its debut album on his very own Asaurus Records label.

The TBH style is a very unique brew, favouring unusual, minor-key melodies and cheerfully depraved moods.  Right off the bat with Home Time, you get a feel for what Matthew aims to achieve - opener "Even in the Future Nothing Works" is warm, fuzzy, and positively infectious.  The same can be said for the folky "Matthew Visits (And Learns to Like) The People's Republic of China."  Even the more eerie, detached songs ("He Prefers the Movie Novelization," "Look, I'm Just Another Member of the Food Chain") have a distinct sense of intimacy amid the dark textures and minor chords.  There are also a couple of more traditional songs ("Are You Sure You Didn't Just Make Thousands of Mistakes?" and the vaguely GBV-esque "Whitney Wants to See the Receipts") that make the disc a bit more accessible.  While Baringer's unpolished voice could dissuade some listeners, its unusualness is actually quite effective in the context of these eleven songs - just as Home Time's frequently bizarre compositional structure takes some adjusting to, so do its vocals.

While Baringer has probably painted himself into a corner as far as niches go, Home Time is Safe Time is a tremendously successful release in my eyes.  Music lovers willing to give a listen to some heartfelt, unconventional DIY pop could find this CDR nestled in their stereo for months on end.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]