Barbe-Q-Barbies - 2013 - Breaking All The Rules
01. Crashing Down
02. One More (And I'll Be Gone)
03. Whole Lotta You
04. Breaking All The Rules
06. Due Time
07. Love Machine
08. Can't Get What You're Looking For
09. Gun In My Hand
10. Shout It Out
After nearly ten years of band history and numerous changes in the line-up, the Barbe-Q-Barbies released their long awaited debut album "All Over You" in October 2010. Fortunately, Finland's hottest girl rock band didn't need another decade to release the successor and so we have "Breaking All The Rules" spinning in the stereo now...
First of all: The cover artwork on which Niki Rock (Vocals), Ekkis (Guitar), Kaisa (Guitar), Minttu (Bass) and Niina (Drums) are strolling on the road smoothly somewhere in the middle of nowhere, probably in the American steppe, might appear a little strange at first - but it's more than reasonable since it represents the sound of "Breaking All The Rules" quite well. Barbe-Q-Barbies go country music? Oh, no, God forbid! But "smooth" is the right word: A lot on the second album of the five femme fatales from Finland's capital Helsinki is smoother, sometimes even more poppy. The light-hearted attitude and aggressiveness of the debut "All Over You" has been exchanged for a sound which might be considered as more radio-friendly. Is this good or bad? Well, that's a matter of opinion. Personally, I liked the debut album a lot, exactly because of those characteristics: The light-hearted attitude and the aggressiveness. I partly miss those very attributes on "Breaking All The Rules", especially in the beginning...
The opener "Crashing Down" doesn't really captivate you and the second track "One More (And I'll Be Gone)" needs to be listened to more than once before you discover its charm, thanks to the "Hey Mister Bartender" sing-along chorus. Just the third song arrests my attention: "Whole Lotta You" would definitely have been the better opener! A rock composition which is really catchy. Or in other words: It's Barbe-Q-Barbies at their best. The following title track "Breaking All The Rules" and the current second single "STFU" maintain this level. While the former has been proven as a great live song, "STFU" was obviously conceived as the song which should draw the attention of the masses to Niki Rock & Co.. Nothing wrong with that since "STFU" is indeed really well done and even one of the strongest songs on "Breaking All The Rules", so it's an excellent choice for a single release.
"Due Time" impresses with very nice guitar work, followed by the album's first single "Love Machine" and "Can't Get What You're Looking For". The ladies - who already toured with W.A.S.P. and the New York Dolls in the past - seem to be specialised in rock tracks with very catchy choruses... Aren't they? Well, with "Gun In My Hand", the quintet presents their first ballad - and it turns out that they are really proficient even in this repertoire. For embarrassing corniness you will look in vain. The last two songs are "Shout It Out" and "Friday", again two rock compositions which won't reinvent the wheel of Rock but are nevertheless respectable. By the way: For this two tracks, Sonic Syndicate frontman Nathan James Biggs had his finger in the pie. Other prominent guests who popped in during the recordings at the "Sound Supreme Studio" in Tavastehus [in Finnish: Hämeenlinna] are The 69 Eyes guitarist Bazie - who was already in charge of some arrangements for "All Over You" - and The 69 Eyes frontman Jyrki69. Both were involved in "Whole Lotta You". However, it seems that the Barbe-Q-Barbies don't want to shout it from the rooftops but want to make the breakthrough on their own. As they are singing in "Shout It Out": "This is just the beginning - We will fight till we're winning!"
Whether they will succeed in making the final breakthrough with "Breaking All The Rules" or not depends on who they will reach. If the record finds its way to more radio airplay and thus to the masses, it could work. For the male metalheads - who represent the majority of the audience at live concerts of the Barbe-Q-Barbies - the new material could be partly too smooth and too poppy. In either case, we will keep an eye on these wonderful and still very promising ladies...
Website of Barbe-Q-Barbies: http://www.barbeqbarbies.com/
Author: Stefanie Singh