Hailing from Brussels, Belgium, Bar II have just dazzled us with their striking new single, “Wake Up!”.
The Belgian duo explain this single storms through our headphones as the culmination of their six-part EP released over the last two years. “Wake Up!” lands as an enraged dissent against our sullen hinterland of contemporary culture, through a fearless interrogation of mainstream music and media, which so patently – or painfully – stands at saturation point.
The anonymous double act confidently – and so refreshingly – kickstart their revolt with a slick guitar slide coupled with a tight tom triplet snare fill into the salient groove, glancing to “Psycho” by assumed influence, Muse. Thunderous floor toms, triumphant crash symbols and subtle but intricate hi-hats comprise the rhythmic engine which drives this number with nerve and assertiveness. Addictive, distorted stabs in harmony with a contrasting higher-toned but equally spirited melodious motif form the stunning string section of this poignant single. Together, exuberant, bullish, Bar II are reminiscent of none other than Royal Blood.
The percussion and strings are well-suited to the verse we anticipate: still strong, but with necessary space for the vocals to occupy. Socio-cultural conscious lyricism delivered by a somewhat distorted, solid frontman’s voice, recall, in sound and topic, Matt Bellamy (though we are spared of operatic falsetto…). The crescendo of the drum groove – predominantly vis-à-vis the rich floor toms – in the verse is noticed and appreciated. The meter of the lyrics, and perhaps the words themselves (further praise may be due, considering the band call bilingual Brussels home) improve and pair nicely nearing the end of the verse, with the descending guitar melody guiding us into the chorus.
Succeeding well-arranged fills, stupefying stabs and a beautiful break in the music is the chorus. Refrain: commandeering. Backing vocals: compelling. Instrumental: outstanding. Here, Bar II insist confidence in our already-strong conviction that they are a serious, professional rock outfit. Second verse, nice ornamentals gaily decorate and variate the music as they do in the second, more-textured chorus. Where a middle-eight of, for instance, hackneyed stabs was expected, you will be surprised with the tonal shift into the major bridge, which blends seamlessly. Enjoying the detour, it is the rising refrain and muted double strum which will fire you back into the chaotic climax of this composition nothing short of excellence.
“Wake Up!” is to be turned up.
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Original Photo Credits: Bar II
Author: Harry Lowery (Instagram: @_hkglowery_)
Author: Harry Lowery