Paul Baribeau - Unbearable (Cover Artwork)

Paul Baribeau

Unbearable (2010)


Holy shit, overdubs! Yes, Paul Baribeau has entered the world of overdubs on his third album, and to his credit does it in a minimal way, not straying from his distinct style of a raw soul alone on his acoustic guitar (the overdubs consist of backup vocals--done by himself--and electric guitar leads for a few songs). Paul Baribeau's first two records, while both excellent, weren't exactly albums--his self-titled was more of a glorified demo and Grand Ledge was really, really, really short. At 10 songs in 24 minutes, Unbearable is a completely realized record, his most rewarding listen from front to back, and his most crisply recorded album.

If you've heard his first two albums, you won't be surprised that it doesn't drift much musically or lyrically from his oft-palm muted acoustic guitar coupled with brutally honest/very specific lyrics ("How many horror movies have we sat through? / How many Sour Patch Kids, how many 2-liters of Mountain Dew?"). "Eight Letters" is a triumph, detailing eight letters he wrote to a girl who, of course, broke his heart, but couldn't bring himself to actually send any. The calming "Blue Cool" uses his backup vocals for a soothing effect that is absent on his other records.

This was a surprise download as I found out about the record by accident--Punknews didn't have an article on its impending release (shame on us!) and there's nothing even written about it on Paul's MySpace, save for two songs he put up.