Closer than close, Barbieshop toy with the classics and create stripped down, cleverly re-worked set lists we can all sing along to. With a repertoire spanning the past 50 years of pop, they’re the perfect candidates for our Summer Spotify playlist.
Amo, Claire and Kate match what is perhaps the most amazingly fitting name for a musical outfit to close harmonies that could make a man weep, with an extraordinary range of tunes that you wouldn’t see coming from an a capella group in a million years.
SevenStreets hates lazy categorisations, so we’ll just say that Barbieshop remind us variously of The Andrews Sisters, The Beach Boys, The Ronettes, and La Winehouse.
Catch ’em all around Liverpool and beyond. SevenStreets is holding out for a cover of Peaches, The Stranglers’ paean to close harmony. But what is close harmony…?
What is close harmony?
We hold hands whilst we sing!
What came first, the name or the band?
The band. Mos def.
What kind of venues and gigs do you play?
A whole heap of things! We sing at various diy homespun indie/jazz/noise-core nights such as Class A Audio, Meshuggy, Thrash Gig.
We also sing at burlesque evenings – we don’t strip! – we have performed on steam trains, sung down laser beams, premiered compositions & we also get asked to sing at quite a few corporate/charity events, weddings & parties. A lot!
Any unusual requests?
Probably doing a cover of Evil Eye by the Cold Ones, an amazing Liverpool-based hardcore band who we heart! All of the vocal delivery in the original track is pretty much shouted so it took a fair bit of arranging into cutsey three-part harmony!
How do you decide on what else goes into your repertoire?
It’s basically songs that we dig! Songs that we love and we think “ooooo what would that sound like a’cappella?!”
We also get quite a lot of requests too and if we like the arrangement then it stays in the set!
How long does it take to arrange a new song and get it right?
It really depends on the song… an hour to lots of hours. Some songs lend themselves to being arranged in three parts more than others and some songs are harmonically more complex than others.
Plus we have very sophisticated choreography that matches each song which takes time to learn and perfect…!
You’re doing a version of Don’t Fence Me In. Obviously you’re the Andrews Sisters. Who plays Bing Crosby?
We’ve toyed with the idea of doing an Andrews Sisters/Bing song for quite some time now, they’re just so good!, we’ll get round to it once we’ve found our perfect Bing. Any takers?
We’ve noticed you around… what else have Barbieshop members been up to over the years?
Kate has a group called DNA Orchestra and is a member of Strange Brood.
Claire conducts the Hope Street Harmonies Choir and can be seen doing the occasional bit of street theatre, although often in disguise!
Amo is a member of indie pop outfit Hallo I Love You and the synthcore band Mono-Poly. We also all work as session musicians with other bands/artistes!
Where can we find you, on a sunny afternoon in Liverpool?
Either in a beer garden or in Sefton Park. With beer.
What’s the future like for Barbieshop?
Pink! Watch out for a split 7” with the amazing The International
in the shops soon…
• Listen to the Barbieshop Summer Spotify playlist