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Backyard Babies - 'Four By Four' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/09/6c/38/Backyard-Babies-Four-By-Four-66-1443726510.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 01, 2015    
 
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Short, sweet and succinct, Backyard Babies have done it again and this time, they're hitting it out of the yard.

Backyard Babies are back, this time with their seventh studio album, 'Four By Four'. The Swedish four-piece have been around since 1987 with a five-year hiatus beginning in 2009. Now they've returned with even more energy and hooks than before and an album that rattles with their unique, almost street style of Rock.

The single 'Th1rt3en Or Nothing' is quick-firing with a Sleazy riff that just screams "gung-ho Rock 'n' Roll". It's a corker of a single and what stands out immediately is how tight the band are, how casual but hard-hitting their Punky style is and generally how easily enjoyable the track is. And who doesn't love a good cow bell?

'I'm On My Way To Save Your Rock 'N' Roll' is brighter but firing on all cylinders from Dregen on guitar to drummer Peder Carlsson. 'White Light District' is a little more paired back but still with a heavier chorus. The Sleaze element of BB' style is emphasized; it's Hard Rock without sounding too thick or overusing distortion. Vocalist Nicke Borg brings a great sardonic style to everything he sings, especially on the slower 'Bloody Tears'. With moving lyrics that are delivered almost deadpan, it's a wonderful union of ballad and balls.

The band has achieved enormous variety on this album. 'Never Finish Anything' offers chatty vocals with shouted backing vocals and a smooth chorus to counteract the staccato verse; it's fun, upbeat and infectious. There's a charm to the raw and rough quality of the album, it doesn't sound over-produced or even over-practiced but just on the cusp of being ready. It also retains the strong charisma BB bring to their live gigs.

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'Mirrors (Shall Be Broken)' is just another example of how the band can change pace and mood effortlessly, though it sometimes sounds like they're itching to speed up. Dregen's solos are, as always, kept wonderfully jagged and unpredictable. 'Wasted Years' contains some of the shortest flashes of brilliance on the whole album with wonderful little licks where the melody is just hair-raising. All, of course, delivered with blistering pace. Dregen's solo here is a (particularly) fantastic display of his signature tone.

'Walls' was an interesting closer. Bassist Johan Blomquist leads the way in a dark, Bluesy and groovy track decorated with tight flourishes from Dregen. The final end is Alice Cooper-esque and perhaps a little dragged out when the band excel at dramatic and no-frills endings.

I agree with the band that this is their "strongest material to date". They exude cool, attitude and an effortless blend of unpolished Punk and Sleaze. Short, sweet and succinct, Backyard Babies have done it again and this time, they're hitting it out of the yard.

Sophie Brownlee

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