Fans of Memphis’s Magic Kids will take well to The Barbaras: A proto-Magic Kids of sorts, featuring a couple of the band’s future members as well as young players from the likes of Boston Chinks and Jay Reatard’s 2006-08 band (including Billy Hayes and Stephen Pope, who now play with Wavves), The Barbaras make catchy, lo-fi fairground pop, and 2006-2008 is a delightful document of mid-aughts Memphis.
“Topsy Turvy Magic” is pure ’50s bubblegum, sparkling with clean guitar riffs and angelic backing vocals. “Breathing Underwater” is a swaying, junior-high-slow-dance lament, while “Devour the Jungle Deer” takes up residence on the other shoulder, overfilling speakers with shouts and synths. Sometimes, like on “Only One” or “Heaven Hangs,” the songs play out like charming little brothers to much of Reatard’s swan song, Watch Me Fall. Fitting, perhaps, that this album was lost – nearly forever – on the late garage rocker’s hard drive, recently rescued by Goner and Alicja Trout. Thanks, you two, for releasing a gem that almost didn’t see the light of day.