The arrival of any new material featuring the rather prolific Barbarellatones front man - Robbie Quine is a cause for celebration in this household. Whether it's Robbie's ever so slightly bored delivery or the bands truly unique blend of surfabilly, psychedelic inspired oh so slightly warped glitter rock they rarely fail to put a smile on my face.
They could be accused of ploughing that same vein time after time without trying anything new so it's good to hear the band flexing their creative muscles a little with this release. "New Wave Days/New Wave Nights" sees them recreating the sound of 80's synthesiser pop perfectly whilst name checking bands, movie stars and nearly every cliché of that era and let's be honest any lyric containing the phrase "Gonna Wang Chung Tonight" can't help but bring back fond memories to anybody who lived through that era. There's even a country pastiche in the form of "I Don't Give A Damn", however, I've got be honest, I know what I like and it's the classic sounding Barbarellatones material that I love the most. "Chia Pet of Darkness" is a perfect example of this, slow, brooding and warped B-Movie lyrics whilst "Drag Queens on Choppers" turns the guitars up for a welcome dose of Robbie's Trannie Rock.
The psychedelia gets turned up a notch in the form of "Journey To Mystic Mountain" and "Whispers From Eternity" with the sitar making another welcome appearance. For those seeking something more familiar the band do a more than passable cover of the New York Dolls "Bad Girl" with Robbie's "more Lou Reed than Lou Reed" vocal delivery suiting the songs more restrained approach to this killer tune. Elsewhere we get liberal helpings of classic Barbarellatones gentle, melody rich tunes all of which have lyrics that are worthy of taking the time to listen to.
I suspect that there's no
middle ground with this band. You'll either love it or hate it and I know exactly
which bracket I fall into. To me, Robbie Quine is an under appreciated (if slightly
bizarre) song writing genius and his band do a fine, fine job of realising his
vision. Yes, some of the experiments (the aforementioned New Wave Days/New Wave
nights for example) though fun don't quite work but the vast majority of this
CD will find itself a regular visitor to my CD and MP3 players. Not something
to rock out to perhaps, but a wholly satisfying listen nevertheless.
by Phil T.
Visit the Barbarellatones Website