Stolen Babies "There Be Squabbles Ahead" CDPosted on Tuesday, September 26th, 2006 @ 9:14am » permalink
To be honest with you, I can't believe I like this CD. The cover artwork, by graphic novelist Crab Scrambly, who I wasn't familiar with beforehand, is actually very cool… but very not the kind of thing indicative of an album that I would enjoy. Then there's the fact that the record's called "There Be Squabbles Ahead" (The End Records), by a band named Stolen Babies… a band that occasionally uses accordion, electric and upright bass, and plenty of keyboards, sampling, and programming. A band that the label classifies with the adjectives/genres "extravagant", "gothic", "metal", "carnival", and "rock". A band that has been elsewhere described with descriptors such as "prog-pop" and "cabaret-thrash", among others. Did I mention that they occasional use an accordion? Yeah? Okay, well did I mention that they also dress up looking like characters out of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" meets a Tim Burton flick or something? So, yeah… ask a Magic 8-ball if I'd dig this band and the response would most certainly be, "My sources say no."
I don't know why, but this is a cool CD. It's pretty damn wacky, it's impossible not to cite loose similarities to (a more consistently cinematic and tangible) Mr. Bungle, and there are of course elements involved that are beyond my normal realm of listening – to the point where I'd not usually be a fan – but hey… sometimes you can't make sense of things. From a writing standpoint I'm not hearing much "prog-pop", but a foundation of quirky metal is there amongst all the extravagant gothic carnival rocking. It's obvious that frontwoman Dominique Lenore Persi has an excellent voice – singing, sceaming, and all – but especially during a few of the borderline "traditional" song arrangements (see "Lifeless" below). As a result, in addition to the adventurous experimentation of Stolen Babies, I'd love to hear her work with a more "straightforward" act that would really let some of her more emotive strengths shine. This is an intriguing piece of work, though. The recording's fairly well executed, and some of the more prominent bass work totally kills, so… if you can ignore your expectations and habitual preferences you just might stumble onto something you enjoy here.
This one's not officially out until next week, but the pre-orders start shipping in just a couple more days: