Irredeemably retro punks Baabes have created something rather special with their debut full-length outing.
When music exists on the more simplistic, visceral levels of the scale it’s hard for it to survive on it’s own merits if it’s even a little derivative; however Baabes – whose album is choc full of variations of themes by the likes of Danko Jones, the New York Dolls and, perhaps most relevantly, Warrior Soul, not only survive – they positively flourish in the environment they’ve created for themselves.
The reason for this – obvious wild-eyed commitment to the cause notwithstanding – is because of the sheer quality of the songs on offer; from the opening strains of Soopastar through to the closing sing-it-shout-it madness of Kiss Off, there’s isn’t a moment on this album when you aren’t catching yourself and thinking ‘this is really rather good’. Not one moment…
Shark City is a riotous bit of surf rock which will have you up in the attic looking for your most ‘striking’ board shorts from back in the day within seconds of needle touching wax, but the highlight here – or at least the first among equals, if we’re being really honest – is the riotous Too Cool For Pants, the video for which I’ve thoughtfully included in this review package.
The lurid, true crime vocal presence of Johnny Brain Box provides a standard for freakz of all stripes to rally round, but he’s not the only star in this particular sky as guitarist Frankie Sinn puts in a pretty marvelous performance too; together the pair fashion a retro sound that might indeed bring nothing new to the table , but, powered by the straight-down-the-line bottom end dynamics of drummer Pennywize and four string compadre Glam Deez, it’s a sound that’s remarkably fresh and undeniably propulsive in nature. Together this ramshackle quartet has created an album that you’ll want to return to again and again if daytime drinking and all-round shambolic behaviour are activities you find appealing (count me in -Ed.).
Baabes is out now.