Dregen - guitar
Pedar - bass
Johan - drums
I really have no idea how well known the Backyard Babies are; I'm somewhat hampered by the fact that they've pretty much always been present in my musical world, so I tend to assume they're just known by whoever I'm talking to. In case they're actually rather unknown, some background can't hurt; they're a Swedish rock'n'roll band - that's proper, low down, dirty rock, not Hives-style stuff (enjoyable though that can be) - and they're pretty successful there. Their album previous to Making Enemies..
, Total 13
, was a shock no. 1 album, and this album followed in those footsteps upon it's release.
First of all, credit where credit's due; they're fully into the whole rock'n'roll excess thing. Making Enemies..
is something of a mixed bag though. First of all, look at those tracks which are more than 4 minutes long. Now, don't listen to them. They are Bad Tracks. The Backyard Babies, and bands like them in general, work best when making songs of the short, sharp shock variety, and those tracks are symbolic of what happens quite a bit on this album - they try to inject too much ballad-like, almost pop-rock material into it. There's nothing wrong with toning down the viciousness of your music, provided you can manage it, but to be honest, I don't think they can.
That's not to say they do this with every song here, it's just that for almost every full-on, balls-to-the-wall rock track (I 3 to Roll, Payback, Brand New Hate, The Clash, Bigger W/A Trigger
), there's a less-than-impressive counterpart to it (Colours, Star War, Heaven 2.9, Painkiller, My Demonic Side
). It's also not to say that every attempt at a slower song here fails - Ex-Files
is actually a really good song (despite having the rather odd line "Yeah, love is a drag and it can be that bad, when at the end of the rope is your dad
(!?)"). When they're firing on all cylinders, they still manage to put out great material - Brand New Hate
in particular has potential as a great live favourite, even an anthem (though being mostly written by Ginger (Wildheart), it's hardly surprising), and The Clash
is one of the best newer rock songs I've heard.
If you filtered out the bad songs here, you'd be left with a 9-track, 25-minute album of respectable rock'n'roll, with a few absolute gems; admittedly nothing up to the standard of Powderhead
, but you can't expect a band to top their greatest song with every album. It still wouldn't be without fault - for one thing, they seem to have a tendency to go for some kind of gang chant, where a crowd-pleasing chorus would probably work better (in live situations - they're very much a live band), in many of their songs, for example The Kids Are Right
, Too Tough To Make Some Friends
. These are still good songs, but their reluctance to go for a singular, rousing chorus annoys me sometimes.
Still, nine good tracks of fourteen isn't bad - I just think they could've done better overall, and that the presence of the other five tracks somewhat brings down the good ones.
. It's just an excellent song.