Album Review: The Barnum Meserve – Designs (34D Records)

Nottingham based post rock 3-piece The Barnum Meserve will release their brand-new album ‘Designs’ on September 30th, 2022, via 34D Records.

Flat out ignoring expectations of what post-rock is, The Barnum Meserve have a very unique album on their hands here. One that is cinematically pleasing, pushes boundaries and stands out because of all of that, and more.

With a base planted in post-rock, The Barnum Meserve really change things up by blending a whole host of modern musical technologies into their sound. The end result is often fascinating, often challenging and always motivating. From the synth-heavy thrum of the opening title track, to the starry blend of effects and rocking chorus of Fade Into the Never, to the mood-altering drama created by Roleplay, the first three tracks will have most sold.

Yet, it really is just the start and The Barnum Meserve have so many more thrilling sounds to share with us.

Upping the cinematic value to the point that Gaslight sounds like it could be part of a dark, dystopian soundtrack. The Barnum Meserve really open up here with lyrical content that is incredibly relatable.

We Are Fighters is one of the album’s highlights though. Moody, emotive and downright beautiful. It’s the perfect combination of effects, post-rock, melody, and drama. One of the most jaw-dropping pieces of music heard this year. Post-rock bands take note, The Barnum Meserve are here and with tracks like this, they’re simply untouchable.

Though, of course, there’s plenty more brilliance to come. A lot more brilliance to come.

A Reason to Live has a more relaxed and mellow rhythm that hits powerful highs. The Disease is unusual as it plays around with video-game-esque effects and evolves in clever ways. Mask of Strength is a real tear-jerker with impressive lyrics and A Place to Call My Home is gorgeous post-rock power and poise. Track after track of sheer brilliance and variety.

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The latter part of the album doesn’t see The Barnum Meserve lose any momentum either. Hitting another delightful high with the heartfelt and score-like melody of Private Holiday. Before stopping everyone listening in their tracks, once again, with the bright and brilliant Drones. The vocals are immense, helping give this song even more buoyancy. Utterly spell-binding stuff.

Who would ever want this to end?

Yet, end it must. The latter part of the album featuring a spirited banger in the form of Without the Warning, a relaxing, laidback and epic effort in the form of End and an eccentric, but enchanting finale in the form of Deep In the Void.

What an album. Enough good things can’t be said about it.

The Barnum Meserve – Designs Full Track Listing:

1. Designs
2. Fade Into the Never
3. Roleplay
4. Gaslight
5. We Are Fighters
6. A Reason to Live
7. The Disease
8. Mask Of Strength
9. A Place to Call My Home
10. Private Holiday
11. Drones
12. Without The Warning
13. End
14. Deep In the Void


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The Barnum Meserve - Designs (34D Records)
  • The Final Score - 10/10
User Review
7.68/10 (4 votes)