Barb Wire Dolls - ‘Desperate’ (Motörhead Music / UDR) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Johnny H   
Friday, 22 July 2016 03:00

Barb Wire DollsI have to admit I didn’t exactly get off on the right foot with Greek punk rockers Barb Wire Dolls. Catching them at Rebellion three years ago without having previously heard any material by them I just couldn’t get over the fact that every song seemed to come preceded with a sermon-like rant about what punk rock was all about from singer Isis Queen. As a result I came away from it all feeling like the band were all style over substance, so even when my Uber Rocking amigo Gaz Tidey then went on to rave about the band’s 2012 Steve Albini produced debut album ‘Slit’ when it got reissued via STP Records in 2014, it was all just too little too late for me as my opinion was already formed


So what the hell am I doing reviewing ‘Desperate’ the band’s sophomore album and debut for the (as far as I’m aware) recently formed Motörhead Music label then? Well, I like a challenge and above all I like to be proven wrong, I’ll openly admit I got Rancid wrong, and in the beginning I wasn’t too impressed by Towers Of London either, however having given both those bands sufficient time in my life I grew to love them both, something I’m hoping might also happen with Barb Wire Dolls.


So let’s start by filling in the gaps since their last record shall we? Having played a gazillion shows in support of ‘Slit’ it appears that the one and only Lemmy took interest in the band (just like he did all those years before with The Plasmatics) and as a result he hooked the guys up with not only his long-time manager Todd Singerman, but also Motörhead's booking agents, as well as his band’s parent label UDR/Warner Music Group. Then said label dispatched the ‘Dolls to both Sonic Ranch (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ministry, Gogol Bordello) and NRG (Motörhead, Foo Fighters, No Doubt) studios under the watchful eye of award-winning producer Jay Baumgardner (Bush, Evanescence, Lacuna Coil) , with the resulting ten tracks getting mastered by Grammy award-winning mastering engineer Howie Weinberg (Nirvana's Nevermind, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik, U2's Pop). The result of all this hard work is ‘Desperate’ and it is due to hit record stores today Friday 22nd July 2016, but is it really worth you getting a copy?


Well, let me tell you a story…..


I’ve lived with ‘Desperate’ both in the car and in my house on an almost constant loop for the best part of two weeks now, and after some initial indifference it has really grown on me as a record, BUT and here is the big but I’m still not 100% convinced this is the real answer to all my punk rock ‘n’ roll needs. Perhaps I just need to see the band live now I actually know some the band’s material or perhaps it’s the fact that some of the album’s most immediate tracks like ‘Surreal’, ‘Take Me Home’ and ‘Heart Attack’ appear to be influenced directly by some of my favourite bands from the last four decades. Whatever it is I just can’t put my finger on it. Other than this though I’ll admit the songs absolutely bristle with energy and once I finally got past Isis Queen’s quite unique vocal stylings I actually found a hell of a lot to enjoy about ‘Desperate’. In fact to illustrate just how far I’ve come with this album as the Meat Loaf-ish vocal delivery used during ‘I Will Sail’ is now actually one of my favourite moments on the record, whilst ‘Blind To You’ reminds me of Republica rebooted for the 21st Century, and the simple fact I won’t have either Meat Loaf or Republica records in my house but can actually find myself humming both these songs must speak volumes regarding the songwriting, right? It’s also something of a masterstroke that with ‘Drown’ the opening track from ‘Desperate' and the band’s first video from the album they haven’t even given you a preview of the best song on the record, nah that’s got to be a toss-up between the truly superb ‘Darby Crash’ or the aforementioned (Sheer) ‘Heart Attack’.


If I were coming to this record as a teenager it would probably be one of the best things I’d heard all year, and it gives me some sort of comfort to think that the next generation of Uber Rockers might just get into 'Desperate' and have it act as some kind of gateway into discovering a whole new world of punk rock ‘n’ roll.  What next for them though? Hmm that's a story for another day.


To pick up your copy of ‘Desperate’ - CLICK HERE