"(Is It) Still Alright To Smile?/Babylon"

Whatever happened to fun? I don't know how many times I've asked myself that particular question. I lost the count long time ago during the depressing decadeknown as the nineties. Is it still alright to smile? Sweden's Backyard Babies have got a point eventhough they haven't been associated with "smiles" themselves lately. Their latest album "Total 13" rather express the frustration and anger of a bunch of subculture heroes, eightballed and suckerpunched by the music industry.

The Sleeve on Backyard Babies new two-song single is drawn by Tyla of Dogs D'amour and is nothing less than awesome. His Paintings was one big reason to buy Dogs' albums. He has truly captured the individuality of the four babies from Nässjö.

"(Is it) Still Alright to Smile?" is less punk than the previous albums, kind of a step back to the old Backyard Babies but with a little more fuel than on "Diesel and Power". This is a progression (regression?) that I praise a lot. One shouldn't however draw too many or big conclusions from this vinylsingle since it's not a new major release but something extra to the true fans (released on danish label Bad Afro). "(Is it) Still Alright to smile" is only pressed in 3000 copies - 1000 red, 1000 yellow and 1000 green (no, mine is not for sale). It will certainly become a collectors item.

The other side of the single features a cover of Faster P-P-Pussy-Pussy-Pussycat's "Babylon". It's a great gem from one of the most influential sleazerock albums of theeighties. Taime's kittens have been overlooked for far too long, it's a big relief that they finally get the recognition and reputation they deserve. Backyard Babies put a personal touch to this sleazy evergreen. I haven't realized before that "Babylon" does sound a lot like Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right to Party". This song also features Ginger (formerly of The Wildhearts). It brings back memories from Stockholm Water Festival this summer when Ginger joined the Babies for the encore. Dregen and the boys is at their best on stage and their albums have never captured the chaos and energy of their shows.

"(Is it) Still Alright to Smile" is a pretty good single and it will probably further establish Backyard Babies as one of the major glampunk bands. Other similar candidates are American Heartbreak and Romeo's Dead. Backyard Babies need better songs and brighter highlights to ghetto me though.

Backyard Babies unofficial site
Backyard Babies official site
Dregen's photo is taken by Conny Petterson for Glitzine