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Jesse Barrera
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The record label system’s decimation of Californian pop-rockers My American Heart demon strated the commercial corruption and moral depravity of the music business (sadly, it is a business). The budding band were simply depleted; bullied; by the dispassionate, cold, greed-driven system, and they eventually disbanded in late-2009. When one door closes, another door is said to open; and for former-frontman Jesse Barrera, this meant instead of ‘hiding inside the horrible weather’ and relinquishing his music career, persevering - and creating his debut solo record, Love In Technicolor.
Straying away from the angsty-punch of My American Heart, Love In Technicolor is a quixotic, soothing, and introspective episode for Barrera, as can be inferred from the title. Independently written, produced, and released, Barrera engineers an acoustic, piano pop sound that is simple yet pleasing. Lyrically, the album is solely centered around themes of love - some thing which Barrera does proficiently, but a lack of variety stands out as the album’s handicap - especially with the instrumental simplicity and acoustic ambiance through out. The album’s supreme feature lies within Barrera’s soulful vocal performance, which is immaculate through out, reminiscing the second half of Hiding Inside The Horrible Weather.
The album’s glistening arrangements resonate from the start, with sensual opener “Tangled Up” setting the pace, before “Come To My Door” exhibits the album’s lyrical idealism and adventurous aspect, sounding similar to the slightly safer “Someday”. Barrera’s freedom means that the album features a host of guest appearances, as close friends AJ Rafael, Melissa Polinar, Charlie Gore and Ken Alminar are enlisted. “Stay With Me” dabbles in a mellow acoustic-pop sound, led by an acoustic guitar and marginally enhanced by an appear­ance from independent singer-songwriter Melissa Polinar (his cousin), while a beautifully crafted duet with Ken Alminar, and heartfelt lyrics are prominent on “Love On A Lifeline”. Despite the album being instrumentally simple, it does experiment, with the most bizarre example being “I Never Said It Was Easy”, which seduc­tively experiments with vocal effects to create a futuristic sound. Two piano-heavy ballads, “Try” and “The Distance”, provide a fitting finale to the record, with the latter featuring another guest appear ance from Melissa Polinar, and contemplating “is it really the distance that’s keeping you from coming home?”.
The afore mentioned lyric is the epitome of Love In Technicolor; it’s heartfelt, passionate, and it’s expressed by a man who has utilized his solo debut as an opportunity to authenticate and demonstrate his true talent, musicianship and maturity. Rather than being tired and uninspired, Jesse Barrera is revitalized, regenerated and set to replenish his career. Love - in this case, a love for music - prevails.
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