Tim Barry - Manchester (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Tim Barry

Manchester (2008)

Suburban Home

Leading a legendary band has its ups and downs. For example, you have a built-in fanbase for any projects outside of said band. However, a potential problem can be the reaction to any material straying too far from what might be expected or realistically hoped for. That being said, Tim Barry, vocalist for hardcore staple Avail, has returned with his second full-length, Manchester.

Tim Barry is a perfect example of a singer/songwriter in their truest form. Reserved and shy off-stage, Barry's amazing lyrical style of intense detail and self-reflection is often overlooked by his thunderous presence onstage. That's why Manchester (and his prior solo effort, Rivanna Junction) make you really listen to what is being said. When boiled down, Barry is more than a songwriter -- he's a storyteller. He draws you into tales like "South Hill," an account of joining the military under false promises and what it leads to. Although he surrounds himself with an assortment of musicians and instruments like steel guitars and banjos, it is clear that Barry's soothing yet poignant vocals are the main emphasis of every song. For the hardcore Avail fan, Barry has tossed you a bone by including a reworked version of the band's track "This November." Also joining the re-recordings on Manchester is "Sagacity Gone," which many will remember from Barry's Laurel Street Demo back in 2005. A standout track then and favorite of many from his live show, the newly recorded version perfectly captures its anthemic nature while maintaining a very relaxed and straightforward tempo.

Barry also ventures in slower, almost ballad-like numbers, such as "Ronnie Song" and "Tacoma." Regardless, he manages to maintain his trademark delivery, which almost conflicts with the tone of the tracks, but in a way that is not only expected, but delivered expertly.

Manchester is a record that exposes Tim Barry as the artist he has grown to be by mixing influences of classical music, which was prevalent in his home as a youngster, to southern country and folk -- influences he has picked up living the past 15 years in Richmond, VA, the gateway to the south. Highly recommended.