Barzin is the vehicle for the musical outings of Barzin Hosseini, chilled troubadour of the Toronto music scene. He toured here a couple of years ago with Great Lake Swimmers, whose Tony Dekker features on this album. What was notable about those appearances was his ability to hold a room in rapt silence as his melodic songs insinuated themselves into the audiences’ consciousness.
Whereas Tony Dekker specialises in a sense of a person’s loneliness in the face of awesome nature, Barzin rather roots himself in the city. On this record he looks out from a shell of urban alone-ness and observes, pointedly, tenderly, seemingly disinterestedly, as contacts are made, relationships pass, but nothing lasting really happens except rueful regret.
The beats are slowish but determined, with strummed guitar, shuffling drums and pedal steel, forming a reflective, dreamy soundscape. The terrific “All the While” opens the record and sets the tone, a lazy, almost recumbent rhythm. In “Without Your Light”, he gently waltzes you further into his soundworld and observation of regret.
The piano driven “In The Dark You Can Love This Place” perfectly captures the sense of isolated detachment of the record “Strangers come, strangers go away/ And still you feel the same…”. It’s terrifyingly precise in its portrayal of detachment and connections not made. “Fake It ‘til You Make It” captures this sense again as it reflects on an empty summer, “You followed home strangers/ who in the end remained just strangers….” .
The last three songs form the emotional core of the record. “You Were Made For All Of This” has a gentle melodic thrust belying some intense emptiness “Someone takes you by the hand,/ Leads you to a room, and you go/ but you don’t know why that is…” . ‘Lazy Summer’ sounds happy as its gentle guitar opens with a wistful anticipation of a summer to come, “Lazy summer is coming back again/ All those lovely girls and lonely boys/ will soon fill the streets..” but he sees what’s coming to him “…the lonely nights/ I can see them right now.” This bleakness – observed ruefully, as if in itself an experience worth having and a proper part of life in a city – is how the record ends in “It’s Hard to Love Blindly” – “Burn down the night/ It never did keep its promise/ It left me with desire/ half way desires, and longing.”
This is a lovely, beautiful and reflective record, the music is intelligent, has depth and sounds gorgeous. One for hurt lovers and natural outsiders to lick their emotional wounds in the failing evening light as the nights get longer and spring makes its (false) promises.