In the majority of cases, if a band were to begin splitting off to the point where the original line up was no longer present and a hiatus was called, a reunion show would be awkward, rough, and powered by friction. Baby Chaos proved to be a marvellous exception to this rule though; after a reunion gig in 2010 in Glasgow, the city they called home before getting signed to East West Records by the former Happy Mondays manager Nathan McCough and throwing themselves into four years of touring and recording, they wanted to keep things going.
In the words of the band, “There was no desire from any of us to rehash the old material, if we were going to do it had to be new songs and songs of their time. The most gratifying thing is that we all agree this album is far and away the best thing Baby Chaos have done together.” To say that has significant weight; their 1994 debut album Safe Sex, Designer Drugs and the Death of Rock and Roll put them on the map, with their 1996 follow-up Love Your Self Abuse hitting into Kerrang!’s top 100 rock albums of all time.
The new, lengthy titled record is due out on April 27th and sees the band in their original line up once again, the quartet proving they’ve not lost anything in the seventeen years they’ve been apart. You Can’t Shut Us Up opens the record to a low rumble, building into an unstoppable wall of riffs and vocals layered to hit hard with their energy. Quirky Blackbirds hints at Muse influences, only more ever-changing and feisty, swapping between full belt energy and brief, quiet guitar solos without hesitation.
Force isn’t needed to make an impact, and the quiet determination that commences and swells through The Whispering Of Giants is the best example of this, before Have Faith In Yourself comes in at the other end of the comparisons scale, all the power and self efficacy of Lower Than Atlantis’ Criminal. P P P Peaches makes it as my personal favourite off the record, romantically tinged with notching down on the rocky, slightly grungey sound they do so well – a two minute blast of love filled riffs.
Poison Ivy Girls is one of those tracks so perfectly designed for riffs to tear up a stadium, before radio ready We Were Youth, one bound to be a fan favourite, barges its way in. Rose tinted through the mega soaring vocals, there’s more than a hint of Biffy Clyro present, splashed with Green Day in the riffs that wind the song up. The Muse influences return in Out Of The Silence, before sheer power drives along Risk And Writhing.
Penultimate A Tingling On Your Bright Skin again chooses to flick between the heavier pulses and more intricate moments, before closing four and a half minutes Habibi dabbles with distinctly hollow percussion to contrast the full, fleshed out riffs that almost drown out the vocals at points.
I won’t have been the only one who’s struggled to chose a favourite, each of the eleven tracks having the refined sound of a band who’ve been at it for decades and all the originality of a group of kids picking up instruments for the first time with serious intentions.