Saturday, April 13, 2024

Review: Barb Wire Dolls – Desperate

motorhead musicTo say that the past year has been a mixed bag for the world of alternative music is a bit of an understatement. For all the fantastic new records and live performances that have overloaded our collective senses, we’ve witnessed the passing of some of the most influential and legendary figures the industry has ever produced. Perhaps the greatest of these losses, certainly to the rock world, came with the passing of Motörhead icon Lemmy.

While his spirit and passion for rock n’ roll will perhaps never be equalled, plenty of bands will be throwing their hats into the ring to give it a shot. One such band, hand-chosen by Lemmy himself and signed to his own Motörhead Records, are the Barb Wire Dolls. Blending together a mix of swaggering hard rock, ballsy 90’s punk and gothic-tinged grunge, this Greek quintet have gleefully stirred the aural melting pot and brewed-up a diverse yet ultimately frustrating concoction of sound.

Before we get to the frustration let’s start with the positives, as there are undoubtedly flourishes of class lurking within the guts of this record. Be it the impressively powerful lead vocal performance or the cacophonous drums that, when in full stride, threaten to leap out of the speakers and dropkick your poor old Nan in the face, Desperate does at times hark back to the glory days of the world in which it’s trying to live. ‘Darby Crash’ for example could hold its own against the very best of The Runaways’ back catalogue, with ‘I Will Sail’ sounding like the bastard love child of L7 and Meat Loaf. There are a fortitude of other little nods littered throughout, ranging from the opening Refused-esque guitar tone of ‘Surreal’ and the country-infused rock n’ roll of lead single ‘Drown’.

Alas, herein lies the problem. This record feels like it’s been crafted by a band dipping their fingers in too many pies. There’s a good deal of groove and a generous helping of cocksure posturing, but instead of fitting nicely alongside the brooding melodrama these elements all smash against each other likes proverbial rocks against hard places. At present the Barb Wire Dolls sit in a contented middle ground, seemingly reluctant to step too far in any given direction and compete with the more accomplished acts that each genre has to offer. Heading more towards the grunge end of the spectrum would see them competing with Milk Teeth; add in more punk and they’d be going toe to toe with The Interrupters. By staying firmly rooted in the eye of the storm instead of entering its maelstrom, the Barb Wire Dolls miss the mark more often than they smack the bullseye in the chops.

They can’t be faulted for their creativity, and for Lemmy to be impressed they’re obviously doing something right. They just need a little more refinement; a clearer sense of direction. There’s evidently a goldmine of talent here, and once they’ve learned how to harness it all and bring it together in a more cohesive fashion, we could start to witness the birth of something special.

Shaun Brown
Shaun Brown
Self-proclaimed sarcasm extraordinaire and lover of alternative music in all its forms. Prone to bouts of alcoholism and a sucker for 80's power ballads.

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1 COMMENT

  1. they are the biggest band in La now and seems to getting peace love all over Europe, and the Usa, Make Riot not War. This album is amazing and my favorite track is drown. the show they put on is amazing and the lead singer looks alot like Debby Harry of Blondie

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