Babyjane - 2011 - Are You Listening
1. Are You Listening
2. Give It All Up
3. Li'l Gutters
5. Town Called Sinner Stone
6. Can You Keep A Secret?
7. Twenty Too Many
8. Miss Scorpio
9. Four Rusted Egos
11. Tell Me (What I Need To Know) - Paranoid Towers Outtake
The first 100% Rock release to reach us, was Australian Babyjane's debut album Are You Listening. Thoroughly promoted and much anticipated, I was dead lucky to get this one in the mail a few weeks ago.
Released back in March after a long road of fine tuning and mastering their songs, Babyjane did not take their first spawn lightly. They crossed the ocean for mixing and mastering, in Nashville and New York respectively.
Time to find out what the result is...First up is the album title track and the first single off it, "Are You Listening". Right off the bat, it's pretty obvious that Babyjane is not just the next AC/DC clone. Agreed, they've got the typical groovy backbone and screechy singing as a telltale of where they're from, but it's all brand new and unique.
The amazing bass work on the opening song, along with the very anthem-ish chorus, clarifies that this is more than a smoky barroom band. Babyjane's got it going right from the start. Listen to the riff that binds the entire song together and you'll get the picture (or that's what I think, at least).
Following the killer first track, are more than a few decent blues-inspired street-feel rockers. The entire "bring it up, take it back down" anticlimax cliché is followed closely, but who says clichés aren't working?
With songs like "Give It All Up" and "Li'l Gutters", Babyjane demonstrates what Australia stands for rock-wise, but "Quicksand" is all theirs... Much more inspired by their American peers, they move away from that typical Australian sound without losing touch with it.
"Town Called Sinner Stone" is one step further even, or should I say, one step harder. The intro riff is as heavy metal as it gets, and turns the song's feel to another level. What follows is a floaty, hypnotic groove monster with a primal chorus.
"Can You Keep A Secret?" is a textbook example of an everlasting hard rock single. Ticking every box in the 'how do I make a classic hard rock song' list, this is one that will never pop up as people's favorite song, but it's so damn solid and right on the note that it's a great landmark of their artistry still.
Following the atmosphere of "Town Called Sinner Stone", "Twenty Too Many" kicks into another rock n' roll story that stands on groove and great riffs. The tension that's created throughout this track is another example of Babyjane's power.
I can't help but hear a little Airbourne influence in "Miss Scorpio", but that isn't necessarily a bad thing if you listen closely. This is the most dance-able song of the album, with some great interaction between lead and backing vocals and a great showcase of the band's bass player's capacities. He pumps his way through the track like it's a walk in the park.
"Four Rusted Egos" is promoted as a standout track next to the opener, "Quicksand" and "Can You Keep A Secret". To me, it's the most American-sounding song on the disc, but it's not the best one... It misses some of the punch heard in previous tracks, and is a little too patched-up to form a steady whole. Nevertheless, on a riff-by-riff basis, it's still a good effort.
Tenth song on the album, "Demontonic", doesn't add anything to the already impressive list of positives on Babyjane, but confirms all I said before. Decent!
Closer "Tell Me (What I Need To Know)" finishes the album off in style. No cheesy ballad, no obsolete slow last song, just another riff-based rocker that gets heads moving.
As a get-to-know cd for 100% Rock, they know their music and promote what's hot or what will be. Babyjane as well as the label are a great business card for Australia's booming rock scene, I can't wait to hear more!