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Anton Barbeau - "Bop"

15 May 2024

Photo by Julia VBH

Anton Barbeau’s new single, “Bop,” was written in Berlin, one of 14 songs that Barbeau cranked out in a span of ten days for his epic Morgenmusik/Nachtschlager double album. “I’m not the world’s most romantic crooner,” he explains, “but ‘Bop’ is a love song for my wife Julia, even if the video shows me more focused on the man in the mirror!”

The original lyric had the line “and I got the Bop Gun” in homage to the Parliament track, but in light of yet another American handgun massacre in the news that week, drummer Michael Urbano (Lindsey Buckingham, Neil Finn, Todd Rundgren, etc) suggested a lyric tweak. Andy Metcalfe (of Robyn Hitchcock’s Soft Boys/Egyptians) appears on bass, and singer-songwriter Rosie Abbott adds backing vocals.

“Urbano was the drummer in my first band,” says Anton. “I met him at the same time I discovered the music of Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, so it’s an absolute thrill to have him playing with Andy Metcalfe on this track.”

While the chorus was written on guitar, the verses took shape on piano, lending the track a prog-esque black-key twang. “The songs on the whole album sound and feel very bricks and mortar/meat and potatoes,” says Anton, “but there’s more cut-and-paste going on behind the scenes than you’d believe.”

“Most of the video was filmed at my late father’s house, the day after his funeral,” he adds. “We incorporated stop animation for the first time in our video work, with artist Karen Eng’s “donut” sequence kicking that off. We were punchy, exhausted, and probably slightly high when we roamed the house filming wallpaper and lip-sync bits.”

For those new to Barbeau’s music, “Bop” is archetypal Anton, but the album from whence it comes covers a range that goes beyond the artist’s own musical understanding. “Not that I’m making something shockingly new,” he says, “but I’m synthesizing elements I no longer know how to name.”

Some of that synergy surely comes from the impressive list of contributors that Barbeau has gathered, with Colin Moulding (XTC), Donald Ross Skinner (Julian Cope), Bryan Poole (Elf Power), and Chris Stamey (dB’s) all lending inspired contributions.

“The first single for Morgenmusik was released just as my dad started hospice care,” says Anton. “I’m glad he got to see that one, and it feels good that we’re able to pick back up again with ‘Bop.’ I’m sure he’d be pleased to see so much light and color flowing through the house where he lived and left this life.”

Follow Anton on the web.