Single Review: Ten Tonnes – Lay It On Me

By on Wednesday, 21st February 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s this time of year when we here at TGTF start to get nostalgic about our times in Austin and the acts we discovered there. Ethan Barnett, stage name Ten Tonnes, has been busy since I covered him live at SXSW 2017 last year. He performed at the Twix afternoon showcase at Bar 96 on Rainey Street on Wednesday, where I interviewed him. He also appeared at the Radio 2 showcase that evening, hosted by BBC Radio In Concert presenter Jo Whiley. It was a big week for him, as his new single ‘Silver Heat’ was released while we were in Texas. An EP with a rollicking title track single, ‘Born to Lose’, followed in the summer. More music lovers were introduced to his music in a blistering array of festival appearances and UK tour support slots with Stereophonics and RAT BOY. Getting out on the road and gaining confidence is in front of audiences will no doubt come in handy as his career progresses.

Barnett now has a new single out this month, and it’s notably different from his previous bluesy efforts. The first song Barnett says he’s written with someone else, ex-Kaiser Chiefs Nick Hodgson, ‘Lay It On Me’ eschews the frenetic guitar chords of ‘Silver Heat’ and the adorable vocal twangs of 2016’s ‘Lucy’. As if to cash in on the current popularity of lo-fi, an echo effect on Barnett’s vocals makes it sound like he’s singing to us down a tunnel. Is this necessary? Not really. A driving rhythm chugs along as he shows remorse of having left behind someone he truly loves. These verses of regret lead to an instrumental crescendo, oddly just over 30 seconds into the song. The vocal punctuation of “I know it’s been a while but I’m back again / back again to face the symphony” is an elegant way of stating he’s facing the music and owning up to his mistakes.

One step further, he’s offering to be anything his partner needs, as if it’s a modern ‘Lean On Me’. The single ends with a chaotic climax of banging guitars and Barnett’s vocals fighting with the cacophony. It’s an odd way to end a song with such a positive message, like we’ve gone from being totally serious to totally silly. The acoustic version of ‘Lay It On Me’ played solely by Barnett on a guitar feels truer to who he is an artist. Maybe it’s a sign that he should go back to writing alone to stay true to the artist he wants to be?

6/10

‘Lay It On Me’ from Ten Tonnes is out now on Warner Brothers. You can compare the studio single version and an acoustic live version by Barnett alone in the embeds below. To catch all of our past coverage on Ten Tonnes on TGTF, go here.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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