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Investigator - Single Review: Lovers & Loners Feat. Barker

11 Apr 2020 // A review by Callum Wagstaff

Adrian Drew left his commercial radio career to make music as Investigator. Johnny Barker left New Zealand to get away from his reputation as Shortland Street's Ferndale Strangler. Now they come together on a song written 7 years ago by Drew and brought to blissful, lollipop life by Barker.

Investigator & Barker's song Lovers & Loners is like a hybrid of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Beatles. It's a subtle and affecting affair with melancholy undertones and a dreamy atmosphere provided by Barker's bubbly and ethereal musical nuances. A collage of colours and vague shapes accompany the song (also courtesy of Barker) as if they're run through a VCR, which aptly accompanies the warble of tape decay present in the margins of the song. My motion-sickness vulnerable friend can confirm that the video may induce headaches, so we advise caution.

Drew unearthed the artifact that would become Lovers & Loners because, like many artists with works being released at the moment, he felt that it was a good time for these particular lyrics. The song conjures images of lovers in close quarters finding themselves at each other's throats and questioning their relationship. It then juxtaposes that with the more serene scene of loners enjoying their digital relations in their favourite comfort gear and with the built-in appreciation that comes from having an allotted time to interact.

Sonically the song begins as a fairly straightforward 70's era inspired soft-rock song. Some nice panning techniques give it a sense of padded space and airy texture, but by the first chorus that wider space fills with those beautiful bubbles of sound and as it transitions, the tape warble bellows out and the bedroom dream-pop atmospheres begin to add new texture and context to the soundscape. These undulating pockets of bliss affected me at a physical level and made me melt inside my couch.

Obviously there is a whole new context in light of the current pandemic but it's quite interesting to dwell on the implications of the story in the time it was written. There seems to be a clear leaning towards the loner system as superior to the more traditional model of relationship.
But the chorus, it looks as though I was projecting, and the real story is more likely to be a trial separation that gave a couple the distance to stop being dicks to each other. Combining the contexts of 7 years ago and the present day leaves us with the nostalgic thought: "remember when this was an option?"

Those extra two interpretations are why a lockdown was the perfect time to release this song, because for the next 2 weeks at least, Lovers & Loners is 3 times more poignant. Nice move, Investigator. Nice move, Ferndale Strangler.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Investigator

Investigator is the brainchild of singer/songwriter & producer, Adrian Drew.

Now with a full band made up of experienced rockers, Investigator has been picked up by a dozen radio stations, here in N.Z. & throughout the US, Canada, South Africa, UK & Australia. Recently Livin’ in a Magazine was #1 for a record breaking seven weeks on Spiderweb Radio’s Top 15 & made KB Radio’s Song of the Year chart!

It's all about the melodies and soaring choruses, with catchy riffs & driving guitar. These are bright shiny songs with dark undertones, a juxtaposition reflecting life. The love, loss and societal stabs feature heavy... but within the dark brooding space there is always a hint of optimism.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Investigator


Year: 2018
Type: EP

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