Kind of Like Spitting

If I could get a look at the pages of Kind of Like Spitting dude Ben Barnett's diary--the ones not detailed in his songs, I mean--I wouldn't be surprised to find a handful of schemes to take down Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst: Though Oberst, in all fairness, has been making records since he was, like, 6, Barnett's released a steady stream of maniacally confessional indie-rock discs in recent years that haven't received a fraction of the attention the mainstream press has showered on Oberst's stuff lately. On Bridges Worth Burning, the sixth (or seventh) Kind of Like Spitting album, Barnett (who sometimes pares the band down to himself) even assembles a little indie-rock orchestra to rival Oberst's, corralling members of Death Cab for Cutie, the Prom and Hey Mercedes to construct alternately dazed and raged backing for his unquestionably histrionic wail. Then again, he includes a song called "We Are Both Writers" and one called "Crossover Potential," a dreadful scene critique in which he actually sings, "We like the music with the vocals mixed low" (which isn't even true of his own material). So maybe Barnett's just reaping what he's sown: These days most folks have got room in their lives for only one tortured indie-rock wunderkind; who'd pick the one bitching about "punk rock credentials?"
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Mikael Wood

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