Band members Related acts
line up 1 (90)
- John Barry (aka Jeb Barry)-- vocals, guitar
- Mike Graves -- vocals, drums, percussion
- Mike O'Neill -- vocals, guitar
- Mark Parsons -- vocals, bass
line up 2 (1990-91)
NEW - Sean Baker -- drums, percussion (replaced Mark Graves)
- John Barry (aka Jeb Barry) -- vocals, guitar
- Mike O'Neill -- vocals, guitar
- Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
- John Barry (solo efforts)
- Busted Trucks
Rating: 3 stars ***
Country/State: Boston, Massachusetts
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 3520
Wish I had more insight into The Typicals. Most of what I know comes from the liner notes on their 1989 debut album.
The band were from Boston and at the time they recorded their 1989 debut "Popscreams" featured a line-up of singer/guitarist John Barry (aka Jeb Barry), drummer Mike Graves, singer/guitarist Mike O'Neill, and bassist Mark Parsons. Their debut was co-produced by the band and Greg Steele and according to the liner notes "This record was recorded and mixed in less than 20 hours for less than the cost of a good guitar. It was recorded live with vocal overdubs except the four acoustic tracks done live on a two track direct." I'd say that was a pretty good description of the album. With Barry and O'Neill splitting the writing duties, the collection featured an enjoyable mixture of Americana ('Missionary Girl'), Springsteen-styled blue collar rock ('Going Steady still'), and local pub acoustic material ('Say About Us'). Sharing lead vocals, Barry and O'Neill were both decent singers - O'Neill was probably the better of the two, though Barry was featured on more songs. These guys were quite impressive on their up-tempo catalog, but I can't say the same thing for the four live acoustic tracks. Showcasing Barry and O'Neill on strumming acoustic guitars, the four tracks just kind of blended together in my ears.
"Popscreams" track listing:
1.) Missionary Girl (John Barry) - 2:40 rating: **** stars
Hum, how to describe 'Missionary Girl' ? Americana-meets-jangle pop ... I guess that's as good as anything. The tune had pretty much everything a song needed to become a late-'80s hit; chiming melody, plenty of thrashing guitars, sweet harmonies, and a slightly uncomfortable lyrics. Of course nobody was listening.
2.) I'll Try (John Barry) - 4:02 rating: *** stars
Not that there was anything wrong with the ballad 'I'll Try', but at least to my ears, Barry's nasally delivery was better suited for the band's up-tempo catalog. Always loved the guitar riff that ran through the tune.
3.) I Could Be the One (Mike O'Neill) - 3:34 rating: **** stars
Penned by O'Neill, the rollicking 'I Could Be the One' was one of the album's most conventional and commercial performances. Should have been released as a single.
4.) Going Steady Still (John Barry) - 2:48 rating: ** stars
'Going Steady Still' featured a stark, acoustic guitar and vocals arrangement that had kind of a blue collar, early Springsteen vibe.
5.) She's Not Popular (John Barry) - 2:42 rating: **** stars
With a bouncy, herky jerky flavor, 'She's Not Popular' sounded like the band had been listening to more than their share of The Ramones. The lyrics were pretty funny, making this one of the album's "growers".
6.) Say About Us (Mike O'Neill) - 2:52 rating: ** stars
Another acoustic number, 'Say About Us' sounded like something from an "unplugged" session. With O'Neill on lead vocals and Barry on harmonies, I can't say this one was particularly interesting.
1.) A Girls Way (John Barry) - 3:28 rating: *** stars
Hearing the opening jarring guitars made me wonder if I'd mistakenly put on a Neil Young album, but then Barry's new wave vocals kicked in. Nice slice of new wave angst.
2.) Talk of the Town (Mike O'Neill) - 2:16 rating: **** stars
'Talk of the Town' was the album's bounciest and most radio-friendly performance.
3.) Idiots That Want (John Barry) - 2:57 rating: *** stars
Another live, acoustic performance. Pretty enough, but not my musical taste.
4.) National Anthem (John Barry) - 3:09 rating: **** stars
The band at their most aggressive - awesome rocker that would have given Nirvana a run for their money.
5.) Walking In the Rain (Mike O'Neill) - 5:01 rating: ** stars
The fourth and final live acoustic performance. Again, okay, but not particularly exciting to my ears.
I've never seen or heard them, but reduced to a trio featuring Barry, O'Neill and new drummer Sean baker, the band managed to crank out two rare, cassette-only follow-ons:
- 1990's "The Poverty Sessions"
- 1991's "Live In the Studio"
Barry's gone on to an extensive solo career and has a web presence at: https://www.jebbarry.com/milltown-reviews
O'Neill opened up the Homebrew Recording Studio in North Adams, Massachusetts.
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