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Barcelona is a group effort


Around the time he released his solo debut, 2005’s Safety Songs, Brian Fennell noticed there was “an over-saturation of young, male, singer/songwriters.”

That prompted the singer/guitarist/keyboardist to go for a band sound and identity, and so he formed the Seattle rock quartet Barcelona.

The seeds for Barcelona were planted when Fennell recruited childhood friend Brian Eichelberger (bass) and college pals Chris Bristol (guitar) and Rhett Stonelake (drums) for a tour to support Safety Songs.

“It was apparent that no one wanted to be a backup band,” recalls Fennell. “From our first practice as Barcelona, the chemistry and sound began to grow rapidly. The combination of every musician changed how I was writing for Barcelona.”

The band takes a unified, serve-the-song approach on the dynamic absolutes, Barcelona’s first album, yet each instrument has a presence and personality. In mid-August, Barcelona was featured on the front page of, and absolutes was available for streaming on the networking site.

“The band was brought to MySpace Records’ attention through a relatively new guy on their team,” says Fennell. “He had been interested in Barcelona as an A&R [representative] at another label and thought of an amazing way to bring us in. We were all hesitant at the thought of doing anything with any labels that early on before the record was out, but he hooked us with a really innovative promotional deal with”

The piano plays a key role on absolutes, which is due in stores Sept. 25 via NBD Music (with U.S. distribution courtesy of Curb Appeal Records).

“Guitar has been at the head of pop rock bands for decades, and I have appreciated the recent attention piano has been getting,” says Fennell. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to use the lead instrument as an overarching label, but from the start, we knew we would be compared to other piano-led bands [such as The Fray and Keane]. . . . We’re all flattered when we’re compared to successful bands — no matter what the genre — but mostly, we want to focus on developing our own sound.”

— By Chris M. Junior

Barcelona tour dates (schedule subject to change):

* Sept. 28: Neumos — Seattle
* Oct. 17: Arlene’s Grocery — New York