Reveiw of "Blood and Mood" by History of Rock (Italy)
It comes therefore as no surprise that Blood And Mood (SugarHill, 2000) takes the Bad Livers in unchartered territory, abandoning their controversial punk/country crossover in favor of electronica arrangements and hip hop rhythms. Fist Magnet sounds like a Beck cover of Neil Young's Old Man. The full-tilt boogie of I'm Losing has the guitar burning a droning riff and then soaring like an aeroplane. The headlong rock and roll of One More Night In A Hotel shakes the foundations of their music.
But the core of the album are cyber-ballads like the slow waltzing Death Trip, the chaotic blues Man Vs Fate and The Legend Of Sawdust Boogers (that would be a romantic ballad without the loud thumping and the distorted samples). These songs are carefully arranged, even when only two or three instruments accompany the melody. The Bad Livers could easily compose chamber music. The ghostly shuffles of Looky Here sets dissonant banjo against samples and synthetic beat.
Unfortunately, the new course penalizes Barnes' storytelling and melodic skills, that are relegated to Love Songs Suck. All the songs are originals, and they are all written by Barnes. Barnes is potentially one of the greatest auteurs of his generation, although he still has to find his true voice. He has replaced the country excesses of his youth with a mature persona of songwriter and arranger.