Album Review: Backyard Babies – “Sliver And Gold”
Friends, rockers and sleazehounds, lend me yer lug’oles. For on this occasion, I come not to bury the Backyards (well, not totally anyway) but to praise them (well, a bit).
It’s safe to say that those of us who fell for Stockholm’s scuzziest’s charms in the days of their twin triumphs “Total 13” and “Making Enemies Is Good” have been struggling with decidedly slim pickings in recent years. After being dropped by their major label following the commercial failure of “Enemies”, their fourth album “Stockholm Syndrome” was only available on import and once you finally tracked it down, it was difficult not to feel that it was a bit of an effort wasted, as it really didn’t have many memorable tracks on it. Following a couple more underwhelming efforts, the group split in 2010, drifting off into solo projects before reconvening half a decade later. Unfortunately the results of the reunion were 2015’s absolute stinking turd of an album “Four By Four” and most of us were left wondering if this was one comeback which should have been left well alone.
However, while it isn’t quite a return to the form of their turn-of-the-millennium imperial phase, “Sliver And Gold” is at least a quantum leap forward from the epic disappointment of its predecessor. Here, the Backyards generally sound leaner, meaner and hungry for blood as evidenced on the opening one-two hook to the jaw that is “Good Morning Midnight” and the sneering “Simple Being Sold”.
It isn’t quite all plain sailing – the Backyards-by-numbers “Shovin’ Rocks” harks back to the laziness of “Four By Four” and the six minute ballad closer “Laugh Now Cry Later” is a real bollock dropped as it just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album at all and should probably have been kept for a B-side. But the snarling “Yes To All No”, the ominous “44 Undead” and the enjoyably daft title track represent some of the strongest material this band has put out in years.
Back with a bang then? Well, it’s only taken them four years, but at least the BYB’s have finally shown signs that they’ve got more left than just trading on 20-year-old memories. Hopefully it’s a sign that Nicke, Dregen, Peder and Johan have rediscovered their long lost mojo and are finally back in business.
I'm not gonna pretend that "Sliver And Gold" is up there with "Total 13" and "Making Enemies Is Good" in terms of quality, as that would quite patently be untrue. What it does represent, however, is arguably the best Backyard Babies album since those halcyon days and a much-welcomed sign that this band does still have a bit of fuel left in the tank.