Barbarossa aka James Mathé is a former member of José Gonzalez live band and it’s interesting to hear how much his vocals resembles his tour-mate. Especially during the verses, there’s a beauty-drenched melancholia, not far from Gonzalez’ 2007 song “Down The Line”. But where Gonzalez mainly uses an acoustic guitar, Mathé’s fusion of big hip hop beats and distinguishing distorted organs, further enhances the somber atmosphere. However, once you get to the chorus, Mathés vocals transforms to a cheesy, yet highly compelling and irresistible refrain.
There is a certain feeling of a rousing movie montage, much like listening to REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You” or former Chicago (band) singer Peter Cetera’s theme song from The Karate Kid – yet, it’s impossible not to fall in love. Taken apart in this manner, “The Load” seems like a messy affair, but as a whole it’s one charming and bittersweet effort.