THE BARRACUDAS: SHARK DRESSED MEN

published in Sounds, September 1984

THE BARRACUDAS
Dingwalls

On nights like this, when everything the Barracudas touch turns into several shades of wonderful, I almost begin to worry. Just why have they never enjoyed more than (very) minor cult status here? Just why do we have to import all manner of rock ‘n’ roll when this is still hanging around in dives like Dingwalls?

It’s all very strange. But for a while, we can forget that and simply take it all in, as the Barracudas excel where others fumble . . . . . calling on anything they care to: tingling, Byrds-flavoured chords, raw, Groovies style melody, even (!) uplifting, Stax-ish soul as they unexpectedly add a four piece brass section.

And making a music that is timeless – tenderly tying their influences together with their own massive ability, and over several years of (largely ignored) evolution, sculpting this flawless and ever-improving set of original songs.

Jeremy Gluck is one of the great frontmen: a completely natural presence, dancing and grinning in abandoned exhilaration, or staring intently out over our heads, or (best of all) leaning still against a pillar, intoning the opening lines of their classic ‘Dead Skin’ with a quiet desperation.

The Barracudas display a stunning versatility, raging through songs like ‘Grammar Of Misery’ or ‘Dealing With Today’, oozing emotion and spine-shivering harmonies, switching to the menacing, bluesy lurch of ‘Codeine’, or climaxing in the rivetting, horn-drenched snarl of ‘Black Snake’.

Wilson and Wills are perfectly complimentary guitarists, steeped in experience and brimming with talent, handling lead and rhythm alternately or diving together headlong into those wonderful, intensifying climaxes.

The Barracudas don’t mess around with self-conscious rock ‘n’ roll stances. They just give us their own innate sense of style, their energy and their all: five men as fit and fiery as their songs, savouring every moment.

The Barracudas were ultimately brilliant – ecstatic crowd who demanded three encores will testify to that. Brilliant and getting better and, I’d wager, not about to give up. More likely, they’ll prowl on, supple and proud, howling longer and louder and stronger. And you’d be foolish not to heed their call. (Robin Gibson)

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