You have heard Steve Barton on Translator's huge hit "Everywhere That I'm Not." The veteran San Francisco alt-rock outfit recorded four albums on 415/Columbia, and toured with R.E.M., Gang of Four and David Bowie. And Translator lives on to this day, soon to announce new recordings, rarities and reissues. However, in Barton's other, more day-to-day life, he's the vocalist/songwriter/guitarist in Steve Barton & the Oblivion Click, whose new album, Flicker of Time, will hit the streets on June 12. The album is on the Sleepless label, distributed through Redeye Distribution.
With 2005's Charm Offensive, Barton created the perfect pop monster. The Boston Phoenix wrote: "The high quality of the songwriting makes the album more than the sum of its influences: the hooks and riffs come so dependably that it all feels effortless. And the lyrics take a few sharp looks into the dark corners of love affairs, proving that the thoughtful streak of Barton's younger days hasn't waned." PopMatters called it "a most energetic and enjoyable effort, one where both the power and the pop are present and accounted for." Mojo awarded it three stars, and the Sunday London Times called it "one of the year's unexpected delights."
The new album, Flicker of Time, presents a more varied musical palette, the result of Barton's band of two years — Oblivion Click — road-testing the material before they hit the studio. The band contains Casey Dolan, guitar; Derrick Anderson, bass; and Robbie Rist, drums. (As an inevitable footnote, Rist is known to many as Oliver in "The Brady Bunch" television series and has accrued many Google-able TV, film and indie music credits since then.) Bassist Anderson contributed a photograph to the album's surreal cover graphic.
One of the pivotal songs on the new album is "Beverly Park," about an amusement park Barton used to frequent as a boy – until it was torn down to build a shopping mall. The themes of time and change continue throughout the album with such songs as the angular rocker opening track, "Cartoon Safe," the epic "Maps & Bridges," and the solo piano performance on his ballad "Under A Broken Sky." Fans of Barton's short rock 'n' roll bashers will be thrilled by the 2-1/2 minute "You Make Me Smile As Big As I Can" and the trashy pounding of "Winter Light." The album closes with the lovely instrumental "End Credits" (music supervisors, take note).
The band will tour behind this release, and the songs from this album and from Steve's previous solo releases, The Boy Who Rode His Bike Around the World and Charm Offensive will be featured, as well as gems from his Translator past.
Speaking of Translator, there's a lot happening in that band's world as well. All four 415/Columbia albums were recently reissued on the Wounded Bird label – their first time on CD. Different Time, an album of outtakes, demos and live recordings will come out on Almacantar Records this summer. Almacantar will also release Time of the Miracles, a document of the band's first reunion in 1993. And UK label Evangeline Records will release a two-disc set this June. Translator will tour this year at times in which Steve Barton & the Oblivion Click are off the road.