Artist: Barista (Stage name for musician Bahad?r Han Ery?lmaz): drums, percussion, keys and backing vocals; Supporting musicians: Brian Duffy: vocals; Simon Phillips: drums; Jesse Siebenberg: keys and guitars; and Lydia Salnikova: vocals
Album: ‘Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress;’ Label: Monoplay Records; Producer: Eryilmaz; Release date: April 16, 2021
Singer-instrumentalist Barista has become the rare contemporary recording artist who can fully and freely immerse himself in a world of expression that inspires him to create relatable, genre-defying songs. The Istanbul-based musician, whose real name is Bahad?r Han Ery?lmaz, produces tracks with substance, as his lyrics are abundant with authentic purpose and emotion. His latest raw and liberating collection of tunes are featured on his recently released third album, ‘Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress.’
The classic rock record, whose entries cultivates a state of inner peace, is the first installment of Barista’s overall new five volume LP, which features a total of 26 songs. Like his earlier work, the tracks on ‘Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress’ are heavily influenced by the experiences of his own life and those of others. The tunes’ lyrics and instrumentals are also inspired from several of his progressive pop-rock musical influences, including Toto, Supertramp and The Alan Parsons Project, as well an array of Turkish folk tradition.
The heavy rock-driven ‘Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress’ opens with one of its most memorable entries, ‘Circular Lives,’ which begins as an homage to Journey’s most classic songs. The track relatably chronicles the struggles people regularly endure while they strive to break free from their most destructive habits. Driven by bluesy guitar riffs, sophisticated drumming and a pulsating rhythm, Barista’s equally gritty and soulful vocals infuse the tune with a Southern rock flair that’s reminiscent of songs from popular American rock bands from the 1970s and ’80s, including The Allman Brothers. The new psychedelic classic rock power anthem, which chronicles a man and woman’s determined path to find the true love they desperately desire, is a grandiose opening to Barista’s latest album.
‘Circular Lives’ is followed by ‘Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress’s robust, energetic title sophomore track. The power pop tune, which is influenced by inspired by such classic rock bands from the 1970s-90s as Cheap Trick and The Beatles, features a distinct blend of drumming, keys and guitars that’s slower in tempo than its predecessor. Also driven by Barista’s passionate vocals and lyrics, the song powerfully contemplate the all-too-relatable prospect of a romantic relationship not being able to survive, as the woman in his life may not be as interested in him as he had hoped. The singer also engagingly croons about the painful process of trying to move on from a bond that may just be an illusion.
Another noteworthy entry on Barista’s latest record is its middle track, the heartland rock-driven ‘In a Dream.’ The singer’s rippling, memorable vocals are reminiscent of those made popular by Tears For Fears’ notable new synth-pop-rock sound on one of their signature singles, ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World.’ Barista’s track, which is also driven by bold, vibrant guitar riffs, ponders a couple’s future together, in a surprisingly uptempo beat that cunningly supports its overall sentimental tone.
‘Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress’ begins to wind down with its penultimate tune, ‘Walk in My Shoes,’ which features stunning vocals from Lydia Salnikova. The song, which features the signature slower tempo from the LP’s earlier entries, is driven by melancholic and sentimental piano keys that offer the vocals and lyrics an extra emotional depth. The guest singer raises the title question of if anyone knows how to walk in her shoes, and can relate to the fact that there isn’t any divine intervention in her life on the album’s most dramatic track.
Barista’s new record comes to a surprising-but equally stunning-end with its final tune, ‘Be Mine.’ Following its six predecessors, which prominently explore themes of loneliness and dissatisfaction, ‘Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress’s concluding song features Salnikova once again, who infuses the piece with shimmering, dreamy and atmospheric vocals. The mid-tempo track, which blends bluesy country-pop and alt-rock guitar riffs, drum beats and vocals, offers a livelier, more optimistic hope for the future, as the singer croons about her hope of getting her fairy tale happy ending.
‘Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress’ is a powerfully progressive, alternative pop-rock LP that perfectly highlights the bold and impressive psychedelic vibe in Barista’s vocals and instrumentals. He once again proves what a multi-layered and inspired visionary musician he is with his unique rhythms and emotional approach to chronicling the relatable journey of striving to find true love and connections in an ever-changing world.