Brian Barnhouse: Sign of Life (2018)

Written by: Roger Penkethman

Reading the accompanying notes for this album, I noticed Brian mentioned a liking to the twin guitar sound of Thin Lizzy and that influenced his songwriting. So that was enough to make me listen as I’m a huge fan of Thin Lizzy and I was so glad I did. This is a very strong, well written album with some excellent musicianship and really great vocal delivery.

The lyrics on all the songs sound very honest and based on actual events in the writers life.

One In A Million describes hiding behind a mask while while being alone and then how meeting the right person can bring you out of yourself.

Your Song sounds a very personal insight in to one of the writers relationships and tells a wonderful story of that, in some wonderful words.

As the album continues the lyrics continue to tell some very thought provoking stories and as I mentioned very personal, which I admire greatly.

Concentrating on the music side of things there are some very catchy melodies in the songs, which I can imagine getting stuck in your head. The guitar playing perfectly matches each song, going from raunchy to mellow, whenever the songs need it. Some acoustic guitar also appears at times especially on the track Smooth, a very 80’s sounding power ballad. The bass and drums create a very punchy rhythm, are wonderfully played and compliment the guitar, to utter perfection.

Brian’s voice has an very earthy sound to it, with a broad range which he effortlessly uses, to bring just the correct amount of emotion to each song.

Reading further through the notes, it mentions Brians heart attack and the following surgery. How he did a lot of soul searching and how when he’d recovered, he decided to concentrate on his own songwriting. Well I can definitely emphasize with that, as I suffered a near fatal head injury many years back and while recovering I decided it was about time I started trying to get some interest in my lyric writing, which I had done since my teens and rarely showed anyone.

So to summarise this album it contains, well written catchy songs which are solid and well balanced, with truly exceptional playing and singing, from a very tight bunch of musicians. Which I would definitely recommend. I will also be checking out his first solo album.

Rating: 7/10


01 – One In A Million
02 – Your Song
03 – Wrapped Up With You
04 – Sign Of Life
05 – The Letting Go
06 – Best Of Me
07 – All Is Fair
08 – Smooth
09 – When I Found You
10 – Held Up High



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