With a dirty production job, “Everybody Sucks” brings to mind Dot Dash, Big Starr and a lighter version of The Replacements with a tale of teenage angst and envy about everyone else’s situation as the protagonist is walking home as everyone else is going out. It is a short, sharp piece of Power Pop that has punk undertones to the sound as well. It is an interesting song that sticks in your head for a long while after the last note has rang out. The second song is called “Back to Douche” which starts with a slow drum pattern and is then joined in by an equally slow tune as this ode to failing in life and being registered to your fate rolls over the audience. It is self-depreciating and has an influence from Eels (or at least acts who played a part in the life of Mr E & Co) on this song as it sounds like the world is falling apart with each note. It does not have the impact of “Everybody Sucks” but it has a nice tune and sounds a little messed up, much like the subject matter. “Loner” brings back the energy and keeps the angst on the highest level as this tale of being alone and not having anything go right in the world, the fact it is created to one of the happiest tunes I have heard in a while is probably deliberately ironic and it made me smile for all the wrong reasons. The production is slightly tinny still, taking away a bit of the shine but it does not take away from the quality of the song. It is one of those numbers where it demands your attention, it is a great song from the other side of the world. “Cheap Perfume” changes the tone of the album, with a song about not being in love and wanting freedom as it is not enough for the protagonist on this number and freedom is their only option. It is a decent enough number which reminds me of Zaz and some of the music from her ‘Paris’ album, you have on one hand this romantic music with a pop-sheen and then you have this set of barbed lyrics that remind me of Luke Haines and the Auteurs on one of their dark days – it is a track I keep going backwards and forwards on, but I think I am leaning toward liking it more than not liking it; it is still open day on this one….
“A Human Being On Mars” is a vintage Bowie tribute at best, the sound, the lyrics and the theme of the music is just wham, bam, Bowie man! With a tale about space travel and this pop rock number will remind people of Bowie within a heartbeat, it might not have been the intent of Baby Scream but it is the net result and I love it. Even if it is not a tribute, it is still a beautiful song. “Captain Hook” marks the halfway point of this album with another Power Rock song that is gentle on the ears musically and the lyrics about a person who is more unpopular than a fart in a diving suit. It is a song that can be played at any time and bring a smile to a lot of people’s faces and bring shame to other people’s souls when they realise it is about them. It might not be the most spectacular or original of songs (it reminds me of a mixture of T-Rex and Tom Petty with his heartbreakers), but that does not matter when the song is a good tune – all that matters is that you want to play it. The mood is slowed down with “Haters Will Hate” and from the beginning you are in no doubt that this is a Beatles inspired number about paying no attention to the negative and to stay on your path, it is a slower number which took a while to sink in again, but that might be due to my musical mood at the moment. It is one that I kept coming back to, just to see if the feels changed which it has with each play and much like “Cheap Perfume” I reckon I will make my mind up about this one later. “Just for A While” is a song about wanting to be let into someone’s life again, it is a standard Power Pop song that goes past quiet quickly and it is played very well indeed. After a few spins you notice more about the chorus, the verses have little sections that sink into your skin and whilst it is ultimately a pop song, it is still one that I would listen to again and again.
“The Girl Next Door” is about (as if you have not guessed) a lady living next to the protagonist and the love that is dwelling in his heart and the urge to wanting to pursue a relationship with her. It is another slower number on this album, retro to the nth degree and it is also the longest song on the album as well. It is a great song and one that was released in the wrong decade, it would have been massive if released in the 60’s or early 70’s. “The Kitty Song” is a song about being a cat, or it could be about someone who is the human equivalent of a cat (not likely, but I have seen humans chase paper balls for no reason); if you own a cat, you will appreciate the lyrics. If you do not, it might pass you by. The music is led by a wood instrument (I want to say Clarinet, but I could be wrong) and it is another gentle song that has my feet tapping. I loved it from the beginning and it was just beat by “Loner” for song of the album, well worth a few spins. The penultimate song is called “I Don’t Wanna Wake Up from This Dream” and this song about not wanting to wake up from a dream of love is something that has been done many times before, it will also be done many times again and this song does nothing wrong; but it did not do anything that made me want to return to it either. But only having one song that does not excite or confuse you on a twelve track album is not a bad score, it is just down to personal tastes. The last song is “Blue in Berlin” which is the strange twin to “Everybody Sucks” as it is the polar opposite to that song. It is a piano led song, it does not have as much angst about it (still some sorrow mixed in there as well), it has a great amount of swearing and I am laughing all the way to the last note. It is a great sub two-minute song which talks about going home and it brings the album to a fantastic ending with one of the best songs of the album.
I really like this album, it has a retro style that does not sound too old (well apart from on one or two numbers). The songs have a great sense of fun, sarcasm, angst and fun mixed into each of the numbers and it works really well as a group of songs. Apart from one number, each one at the very least held my attention and some made me laugh for all the wrong reasons. The production on a few of the numbers was a bit too grainy for my liking (this is not Darkthrone) and it took a little bit of the shine away from the album, but overall the songs proved to be amazing and it is a wonder piece of Power Pop that will make a dark piece of sunshine appear in your heart.
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top track - Loner
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At time of writing, this album is not on Tidal; however, there are other Baby Scream releases on Tidal for your listening pleasure