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BABYJANE - Are You Listening


When Babyjane scream ''are you listening'' during the chorus of the opening track I feel like yelling back, ''fuck yes I am!'' Hailing from the country best known for spawning AC/DC, these Australian newcomers could easily have taken that formula to the bank but instead seem determined to put their own spin on the sleaze rock genre. Instead of sticking to the three-chord barroom rock made famous by the Young brothers, Babyjane has more in common with L.U.S.T. -- another sleazy upstart from down under.
The title track is a great way to kick off Are You Listening, and as a friend of mine said as I spun this song, "It sounds like 1989 all over again". That''s right, and that''s why it sounds so damn good! "Give It All Up", "Can You Keep A Secret?", "Four Rusted Egos", and "Demontonic" all keep up the late ''80s feel with a healthy dose of current sleaze. Babyjane also get heavy and moody in places, best shown on "Town Called Sinner Stone" and "Twenty Too Many", in which the boys play with the ferocity of Slave To The Grind era Skid Row.

The mix by legendary producer Michael Wagener gives Babyjane a professional feel without making their music slick and lifeless -- the CD has just the right amount of dirt under the fingernails. And while not every song impresses -- "Quicksand" (where singer Andy Smith does his best Sebastian Bach impersonation) and "Tell Me (What I Need To Know)" for example fall flat -- Babyjane show a hell of a lot of promise on Are You Listening.
Yes I''m listening, as should the rest of you. My advice for Babyjane is to release a video for the title track, tighten their sound while playing every shithole that will have them, and then drop a flawless sophomore album on our laps -- I have no doubts they are capable of doing it as Are You Listening shows several flashes of brilliance.