The Backyard Babies are a hard rock/punk/sleaze rock Swedish band whose popularity has risen in the UK over the last few years. They were originally formed in 1987 and are currently signed to BMG records.
When listening to them and watching them live its hard to believe they've been around for 20 years as they still play with the energy of a much younger band. I was introduced to them by a friend about 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. They're my favourite modern band (my favourite all-time band being The Clash).
Its hard to say who the Backyard Babies are similar in style to, as most of the bands they're similar to are as obsure as themselves! If you like The Wildhearts, Hardcore Superstar, Hanoi Rocks, Buckcherry, maybe even Guns N' Roses then I recommend you give them a listen. Or simply if you like good rock music or noisy punk then they might be for you. I would recommend "Total 13" as the first 2 album to get, although bear in mind it has a much rawer, edgier sound than the band's later efforts. Backyard Babies fans are few and far between - when I cite them as one of my favourite bands, the classic response is "Backyard what?!" But when you come across someone who knows who you're talking about then you know you've found a kindred spirit.
Nicke Borg - vocals, guitar
Dregen - lead guitar, backing vocals
Johan Blomqvist - bass
Peder Carlsson - drums
ALBUMS TO DATE
Diesel & Power (1994)
Total 13 (1998)
Making Enemies Is Good (2001)
Stockholm Syndrome (2003)
People Like People Like People Like Us (2006)
Backyard Babies (2008)
"BACKYARD BABIES" TRACK LISTING
1. F*** Off and Die
3. Come Undone
6. Voodoo Love Bow
8. The Ship
10. Back on the Juice
11. Where Were You?
12. Zoe Is a Weirdo
13. Saved by the Bell
The album I'm reviwing is their latest effort, the self-titled "Backyard Babies".It was released on 13th August 2008 and debuted at no 29 in the UK rock chart. It was produced by Jacob Hellner, who has worked with Rammstein and Apocalyptica.
It's been deemed a "return to form" and close to the raw sound of "Total 13" which is widely cited as their best album. Personally I like all their albums but "Total 13" is by far my favourite so I was excited at the prospect of this one. Its an excellent album, don't get me wrong. It has the attitude, the whiny rough vocals, catchy guitar riffs and adrenaline fuelled drum beats. However it just seems a little too "polished". It doesn't surprise me in that respect though as I thought the same about the last 2 albums. Not that any of them are bad. Its just they lack the raw frantic energy of "Total 13" which is a great shame, yet also why the band are much better live than they are recorded.
Dregen sings a lot more on this one that previous, which is interesting as his higher pitched tighter vocals contrast well with Nicke's raspy, gravelly tones.
Track 1 - "F*** off and Die"
Sung by Dregen and was the first single released from the album. Its a great track to hate to. Every times someone gets on your nerves you'll want to blast out the chorus of this song at them! Lacks something though. Not a favourite. 7/10
Track 2 - "Degenerated"
A catchy, chanty chorus that will easily become a live favourite, with a head banging guitar riff. 8/10
Track 3 - "Come Undone"
Could almost be a Wildhearts track with its "na na na" bridge. Quite a neat, almost pop like song but good fun. 9/10
Track 4 - "Drool"
This is the sort of song that Dregen's voice is well suited to! It has has a wonderfully sleazy, narcisstic quality about it, with fantastic lyrics. 9/10
Track 5 - "Abandon"
Starts out gentle, with just a guitar and Nicke's slow vocals but the Backyard Babies don't do ballads as a rule and you just know a shouty chorus, crashing guitars and a frantic drum beat will kick in before too long. And it does. Frantic yet melancholy. 10/10
Track 6 - "Voodoo Love Bow"
Has a plinky-plonky, bar room piano chorus . Not one that I took to instantly but it's a grower. 8/10
Track 7 - "Idiots"
Great song with a great chorus you'll want to roar out at every idiot you encounter. The guitar intro sounds as if it would fit in perfectly to a Foo Fighters song and you almost expect Dave Grohl to start singing, until Nicke's trademark voice kicks in. 9/10
Track 8 - "The Ship"
Nicke's voice sounds great on this one and there's something sex pistol-like to it. Not one that stands out for me though. 7/10
Track 9 -"Nomadic"
My favourite track from the album (at the moment, anyway). Nicke sneers his way through a fast tracked punky song with a melodic chorus. 10/10
Track 10 - "Back on the Juice"
An ode to the ravages of alcoholism and is a mild, profound effort. One of my favourites. 10/10
Track 11 - "Where Were You?"
Uptempo with yet another catchy chorus. Think this will be a good live track but it isn't one of my favourites. 7/10
Track 12 - "Zoe Is A Weirdo"
Has a great Ramones-style title and is a frantic fast paced belter of a punk tune that seems to be over before it starts. A real head banger. 8/10
Track 13 - "Saved By The Bell"
Possibly the most unlikely Backyard Babies song ever. Its just Nicke's trademark voice and a guitar. But there's something magical about it - it's a song I can imagine listening to in the middle of the night if I can't sleep. Great lyrics about life, set off perfectly by Nicke's vocals. Last time I saw them live, Nicke performed this as the encore. Amazing. 9/10
All in all, an album worth a listen if you're a new fan or if you like some of the bands earlier work. There's nothing new here; it isn't ground breaking. But it is catchy and lively with plenty singalong choruses and headbanging moments. My only gripe is that it lacks the rawness that I love in punk music. However I guess as bands get bigger they tend to leave their crass roots behind and invest in more expensive producers. A good thing? I'm not sure. My other recommendation would be, if you like this album or any others, make sure you get a chance to see the band live some time. You'll appreciate the songs a whole lot more and they'll never sound the same to you again, because once you've heard them live, they really come to life.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Fuck Off And Die
3 Come Undone
6 Voodoo Love Bow
10 Back On The Juice
11 Where Were You
12 Zoe Is A Weirdo
13 Saved By The Bell
14 Fuck Off And Die