Artist: Barnes & Barnes

Date Released: 2005, recorded 1983

Label: Oglio

Produced By: Barnes & Barnes


  1. Soak It Up
  2. Before You Leave (Positive Life)
  3. Succeed
  4. Monkey Life
  5. Objectivity
  6. A Wave For Brian Wilson
  7. Fighting The Demon
  8. So Bold
  9. Superman Will Save The Day
  10. Scary Love
  11. Girl Of My Dreams
  12. I Got A Job
  13. Don't Fuck Up The World
  14. Suburban Obscurity
  15. Code Of Honor
  16. A Power Play
  17. Positive Life #2
  18. Fox Hole
  19. Lies And Spies
  20. Ripen And Rot
  21. If You Hurt No One
  22. Pay For Your Ticket
  23. Everything You Do
  24. Honorable Mention

(Tracks 1-5 taken from the Soak It Up EP. Tracks 6-15 make up what Kodovoner would have been had it been released. Tracks 16-24 are outtakes from the Kodovoner sessions.)


This is Barnes & Barnes' Smile. Barnes & Barnes wanted to expand into a straightforward New Wave group (knowing that they had the chops and songwriting talent to pull it off, and already moving in that direction with some of the songwriting on Spazchow. In a trade magazine, they saw an ad for a new label, Boulevard being set-up as an offshoot of CBS records. The ad said that if you sent in your demo tape, and they liked it, they'd sign you. So, Barnes & Barnes put together a demo tape of their new sound (more snythesizers and drum machines; no spuzzle percussion—the innovative percussion sounds they invented for the first two records, built out of a Linn Drum, reverb and other found sounds, sound effects, and whatever they could get their hands on), and as it turned out, Boulevard liked it. They signed Barnes & Barnes to a deal where they'd release an LP for them, along with a teaser EP. The EP (Soak It Up) came out, and it sold in about the same numbers that most Barnes & Barnes releases had been selling, which were great for an indie like Rhino, but not so good for a major like CBS. As such, Boulevard got cold feet along with an army of lawyers, and one ugly situation later, Barnes & Barnes had.... no album. It was swallowed up by the CBS vaults, and they couldn't shop it around. Luckily, Rhino was more than happy to have them back, and they recorded the Amazing Adult Fantasy album for them. But fans noticed that there seemed to be a missing step between Soak It Up and Amazing Adult Fantasy -- and that missing step is Kodovoner. After many close calls (at first thinking that they couldn't get the tapes from CBS, then thinking that the master tapes were completely lost, then being delivered a cassette dub, and FINALLY getting the tapes), Barnes & Barnes were able to release it... after 22 years.

So, backstory out of the way, the important question—how IS it? Who was right -- Barnes & Barnes or Boulevard? Well, if it wasn't obvious, it turns out that, yet again, the major label was wrong. Kodovoner is a great album and would have been even greater released in 1983. There's a lot of really innovative production (that would have made this an influential album had people heard it back then), and the songcraft is all top notch. Hell, "Suburban Obscurity" alone is proof enough that Boulevard made a major boner by not putting this out. Like with Amazing Adult Fantasy, this record is full of songs that should have been pop hits, and would have been had they been promoted (or, well, in this case, released). The material on this album is all really great—since it wasn't released, Barnes & Barnes would occasionally go back to it, "Scary Love" and "I Got A Job" would both be finally issued on Sicks (though the latter would be retitled "I Hate The Boss"), "Code Of Honor" would be reprised as the coda to Amazing Adult Fantasy (though a different recording; where the Kodovoner version is much brighter, the newer recording is much angrier sounding—less friendly advice and more of an accusation), and the outtake "Everything You Do" would be cannibalised into (the superior) "The Ballad Of Jim Joy". The only thing that I'd change—I'm really surprised that "If You Hurt No One" wasn't actually slated to be on the acutal album—it's a great song that really encapsulates what not only Kodovoner was about, but what Barnes & Barnes are about -- "If you hurt no one/you've done nothing wrong". It's really a pity that this album didn't come out when it was supposed to, but at least it's out now, and you can go get it. And you should do so, right now! This reissue is only available online, through - Rev. Syung Myung Me

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