EP Review: Barouche – Volume I: The Expedition

Barouche Volume I The Expedition cover

Ross Jenkinson is London multi-instrumentalist who has just released a brilliant solo EP under the name Barouche.

The EP starts off with ‘Plot a Course’, a groovy latin-esque number that makes me think of Santana. I’m not usually a fan of much electronic music, but second track, ‘Across the Breeze’ is charming, in a similar style to Panda Panda. ‘If We Could but Rest…’ is another fun upbeat number, delightfully danceable with its offbeat drumming.

Two tracks remind me of darker post-metal like Cloudkicker. ‘The Demons are Shouting’ is tight, angular and djenty, whilst ‘The Better Angels’ is looser, with a deliciously dirty guitar tone coupled with sloshy cymbals.

In fact, those cymbals led me to a personal “Sherlock Holmes moment”. When listening through headphones, I noticed that the hi-hat cymbals were coming through the right hand earpiece. After messaging Jenkinson my suspicions were confirmed – he plays left-handed! Maybe I should pursue a career in detective work…

One key advantage that Barouche has over many other post-rock acts is that the music is tight and concise and not sprawling and slow building. As much as I like music with long build ups, I tend to play that stuff in the background. But I remain attentive to Barouche’s music because it’s short and exciting. People have short attention spans. This is why best-selling pop songs are short and repetitive. And why Barouche will be more palatable than other instrumental projects for many people.

It’s always impressive when someone can create a full musical project on their own. The likes of Lights & Motion and Cloudkicker have shown that it’s possible to still do a Mike Oldfield. And now Barouche has joined their ranks. The range of music is refreshingly experimental, covering different styles and exploring different musical flavours and colours. Jenkinson has displayed an impressive assortment of abilities in his arsenal, recording everything himself using both standard instruments and computer programming.

This collection is Volume I, showcasing a range of sounds and styles. Barouche will continue to flesh out these ideas with future releases, taking each sound in different directions and letting them evolve. If The Expedition is just a taster, then I’m excited to hear the music still to come.

You can download Barouche Volume I: The Expedition from Bandcamp here.

Keep on eye on that page. An ambient/noise record is due in a few weeks, with a  “Big, Happy, Rock” EP to follow shortly after. By sounds of things, Barouche won’t be slowing down any time soon.

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Joseph James