The Magic Comes Out on Barista’s Open Sesame Volume 1: Her Dress
Barista gives you the best of the best on his recently released LP Open Sesame Volume 1: Her Dress. Not the best of both worlds, mind you; there’s far too many elements performing at peak capacity to be dichotomized according to any bifurcation.
For starters, there’s a peerless female vocalist who starts off singing background on a tune or two before unveiling her full array of talents as lead vocalist. Alas, it appears her performances are uncredited, but there’s a purity to her voice that’s backed by some solid chops that are worth listening to—closely even, when you throw in the lyrics. She’s got a potent penchant for poetry (or at least the songwriter does, who could very well be Barista) that can mellow you out and leave you speechless, like on “Be Mine”, or turn you pensive, as is the case on “Walk in My Shoes”.
There’s also the mix, which is unusually lucid and precisely bass heavy. The abundance of acoustic guitars are not drowned out by the electric ones, the drumming is distinct, and the overall effect is a robustness of sonic energy that’s more vociferous than most albums are.
The aforesaid bass is credited to the same wizard handling the other guitars, Jesse Siebenberg. Despite a rousing electric guitar solo in most of these songs, his work on the bass is the true standout, particularly on “Watching the End Begin, Part 1 (Coffee Song)”, and “Disco Sun”.
“Sun”, the third track in the collection, is a bona fide hit. It’s the one in which the female vocalist initially appears on the album and which Siebenberg busts out the wah wahs with just a hint of distortion to keep things edgy. It’s much smoother than some of the more straight ahead rock numbers, and with the female vocalist backing up Brian Duffy on lead, is a fun way to cruise through a song. Again, the best of the best quality comes out as this tune is an obvious throwback to the premier era of disco in which you could lose your mind dancing and still, somehow, learn a thing or two.
That sentiment, in fact, applies to this work as a whole, building anticipation for subsequent volumes of Open Sesame.