‘Four By Four’ has already been out a few weeks; we’ve been a little bit slow at getting the review done. But, we have had time to properly digest it. Which is a good thing because had we reviewed it after a just few listens, then this would certainly have gone down as an average Backyard Babies album and not much of a sparkling comeback.
‘Four By Four’ is definitely a grower, because having blasted it many times on the daily commute (sometimes twice, as this is a pretty short album) it’s now up there with the best Backyard Babies albums.
It’s mostly what you are expecting form the ‘Babies. Lots of pick scrapes going off like musical fireworks, short punchy punk rock songs and plenty of leather-clad attitude.
Highlights? Yes, there are plenty of highlights.
‘I’m On My Way To Save Your Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is an up tempo track right out of the Backyard Babies guide book with a pumping riff and catchy chorus all completed with a bit of Dregen’s wailing guitar. ‘White Light District’ also carries a familiar Babies pattern while ‘Bloody Tears’ gives Nicke his chance to get his teeth stuck into a ballad.
‘Wasted Years’ is topped off superbly with some Chuck Berry style Rock ‘n’ Roll guitar instead of the Adrian Smith solo that comes to mind when you first see the song title. There isn’t a weak track on here.
If there’s one thing that is missing from ‘Four By Four’ it’s a snarly Dregen vocal. ‘Never Finish Anything’ see’s Dregen and Nicke trading lines but he doesn’t get his own song. Considering the form of his last solo album that is a bit of a shame and could of finished this piece of work of nicely.
The closing number ‘Walls‘ is a little less predictable than the rest. It’s got a few more twists and turns than the average Backyard Babies track. It’s almost progressive by their usual straight forward approach to things. With some time changes, style changes and a stand-and-deliver riff that deserves to be played up at 11, it’s a bit different to what we normally get from the Swedes.
Now, depending on how sceptical you are you can pick one of two options. There’s the “Ooh they’re trying something new in their big comeback to make it more exciting” option. Or, it might be that because this album only just makes it past the half hour mark that this last track is a last desperate attempt to flesh out the bones a bit.
Either way, this is a corker of an album. Backyard Babies have come back all guns blazing and aside from the album not being long enough for us hardcore fans and a real lack of a Dregen-led song; it’s still a belter of a comeback!