Michael Barnes

REVIEW: ‘Ghosts’ (EP) – Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes – “Ghosts” (EP)

Peterborough born but Sheffield based singer, songwriter and musician Michael Barnes his just released his debut EP, “Ghosts”, a four track collection of electro-indie-synth songs to introduce his retro sounding, very British influenced first effort. Michael tells us: “After songwriting for a number of years, 2020 has been the culmination of my efforts. Catalysed by the unfortunate events that have affected us all this year, the EP was recorded and written within my kitchen”. This is DIY music in the best possible way and, as we shall see, the production quality belies it’s very makeshift approach and conception.

The EP kicks off with the title track with it’s synths and keyboards that sound very early Depeche Mode/Soft Cell. Michael’s vocal is sweet and young sounding as Michael attempts to escape the ghosts that surround him. “Those Eyes” enters the world of Yazoo meets Duran Duran with Michael’s ‘dripping’ vocals laying ever so delicately over the often spooky soundtrack of this much darker indie-pop tune. “Enemy” brightens things up and with a faster pace too as Michael tries to repair bridges as the enemy he once was but now wanting to be on ‘your’ side. I love the synth ending to this song that just oozes Vince Clarke.

Michael ends this EP with the guitar based slowey, “Without You”, a dream-pop, indie track that evokes memories of The Dream Academy. Michael writes about love, being alone and not wanting to live ‘without you’. Tender and moving, this is one of those understated songs that floats in the ear without any invitation and remains there. “Ghosts” is a brilliant debut for Michael as he gives his music to the masses and hopefully to find an audience with which to build on in the years to come. This deserves a listen, particularly for anyone of a ‘certain’ age who will remember those groups of the early 80’s, but also with some 90’s Britpop-indie band sounds as well. Make sure you banish some “Ghosts” this Winter and enjoy the rich new world of Michael Barnes.

For more about Michael, check out his official FACEBOOK page

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!