Paul Baribeau - Unbearable
Paul Baribeau is an artist who came around in the mid-aughts during what most people would call the peak of the anti-folk/riot-folk craze that fell upon the punk rock underground in the wake of Against Me!’s meteoric rise out of the folk-punk scene that birthed them. Along with his Plan-It-X compatriots like Ghost Mice, Baribeau enjoyed a moment in the spotlight with 2007’s Grand Ledge, which seemed as though it was going to launch him and frequent collaborator Ginger Alford into a more mainstream audience. For better or worse, Baribeau has stayed firmly rooted in the obscurity that he thrives in. The influences have always been right, Baribeau’s best songs tend to play like an especially cutesy Springsteen with an extremely understated punk edge, and songs like “Rolling Clouds” and “If I Knew” are yearning peans to adolescence (in the best way possible). He knows that brevity is a strength, and even Unbearable sounds epic in relation to Grand Ledge, stretching the 18 minute running time to 24 and change. If you’re a fan of friends and soda and you still spend afternoons with your head in the clouds, dreaming about your high school crush, this is 100% up your alley. Of course, not to discount the poignancy of Baribeau’s songwriting, but if you crave something a little more substantial, with some deeper lyricism, this might not be your thing. Like our good friend Bryan said about Spraynard’s full-length LP, this is largely just junk food, but like all well-balanced diets (and other guilty pleasures), after a few beers, junk food is sometimes the only acceptable option, and sometimes, you just wanna get drunk and hug all your friends and shout along, even though you might regret it tomorrow.