Heroes are peculiarly individual. One man’s hero may be another’s whatever. But what happens when you meet your hero? Furthermore, what happens if you not only meet him, but play a one-off, once-in-a-lifetime, special-event gig with him?
Such existential quandaries were manfully shrugged off by Louis Barabbas of Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six when he arranged for his hero, inspiration and high priest of pop peculiarity, John Otway to join the band’s EP launch extravaganza.
Picking a man who bills himself as ‘Rock and Roll’s greatest failure’ as a role model may seem counter-intuitive, but the truth is that heroes choose themselves. Hero-worship was never supposed to be sensible.
Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six’ new EP is a distinct sidestep away from the accepted norm; defiance writ large, clammy and debauched. The parallel with John Otway becomes much clearer on reflection.
There aren’t many bands that would haul their feet along the same dusty path, partly because their ‘jive-smitten cabaret blues’ is a tough sell in a world where brand new dance duos with two songs to their credit get the music industry helplessly excitable.
LB&TBS shun convention: trusting their guts and then spilling them over a thick, clotted glut of rich, dense and lascivious songs. Reeking of booze and heady with lust, there is no quick route into this collection, their sound being so specifically unlike current musical trends. And yet this is the source of their great allure. It might not make sense, but why should it?