Backyard Babies – Four By Four (Gain/Sony Music)
Genre: Sleaze Rock
Following a prolific run of four top three Swedish albums – including two chart toppers – Backyard Babies decided to call it a day. Indefinitely.
Perhaps the well had run dry. Maybe Dregen couldn’t resist Michael Monroe’s persistent overtures any longer. It might, of course, have been down to good old fashioned creative differences. Whatever the real reason, BB were a loss.
But one of Scandinavia’s sleaziest rock exports is back. The original punk-infused party starters have peppered the festival circuit with a series of typically incendiary live shows this summer – including a standout stop at Download – and it’s time to drop new album Four By Four.
Disappointingly it’s a disjointed, almost dull affair. A comeback album for comeback’s sake? It could be. BB are built on the premise that anything goes but anyone fortunate enough to own a copy of the career-spanning Them XX will know that quality and consistency was never compromised. Until now.
Opener Th1rt3en Or Nothing is sparky enough and as a means of easing fans into the Babies’ brave new era it works. But when Nicke Borg goes on to insist I’m On My Way To Save Your Rock N Roll the cracks are already appearing: it certainly used to be the case where this ballsy quartet was concerned. Now that bold statement simply doesn’t ring true.
The band’s collective experience and expertise means that Four By Four isn’t a total disaster and yet it’s a far cry from the glory days of 2003’s stirring Stockholm Syndrome.
Piracy and seven-minute set closer Walls are the alarming sound of a band substituting filler for killer. Backyard Babies remain a must-see live. Clearly it’s going to take the Swedes some time to rediscover their creative mojo. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Four By Four-getable