Review Summary: One of the prime examples of mid-nineties Britrock. Heavy riffing, pop sensibilities and all-out punk attitude. Extremely well organised Chaos.
Back in the Spring of 1994, at a small club in the South of England, Baby Chaos became the first band I ever saw live. At the time I hadn't heard anything by them, but the energy they put out lived with me for a long time, and the bouncy, edgy music they put behind venom-laced sing-along lyrics cemented Safe Sex, Designer Drugs & The Death of Rock & Roll at the top of my favourite albums list ever since.
The album kicks off with Sperm, and the palm-muted guitar chords that see the song in belie the aggression that is just around the corner, as Chris Gordon's gentle lyrics swirl with the crunch of the music before the chorus slams in. Two tracks later, and Go To Hell shows the band's strength in switching from eerie calm to all out balls-to-the-wall anger. The general tone of most of the songs balances light and heavy, which led most of the reviewers at the time to lazily label the album as grunge-leaning. However, it had much more in common with the emerging British rock scene of the time, particularly the heavy riffing of The Wildhearts
, and the angular alternative edge of Therapy?
Early album highlight Breathe starts off slowly and quietly with the refrain "I bought her flowers, when she was dead. It was the first time, that I did that. It was pretty bad", and rides along on a very slow, melancholic groove until it hits the mid-point. At which point the time signature changes, a monster of a riff kicks in, and Gordon's lyrics turn from the sombre to the menacing, almost screaming: "I wanna live forever, but I'm not that clever", and rocks out on this groove until the end. The album then flows along with two of the more straight-up rocky, bounce along numbers Hello Victim and Buzz.
After the heavy-as-anything A Bullet For The End and the mellow almost-track Camel, Baby Chaos come up with the most punk song they ever released, Golden Tooth. "Dye my hair, I don't care, much to what you think of me. Getting high, I can't deny, matters more than anything." The attitude drips from the speakers as the guitars drive the main riff through the track, and it's barely noticeable that the rhyming dictionary went out of the window in the first bar. It is pure energy, and the whole track comes and goes before you have had a chance to catch your breath. Following a slightly surreal track devoted to the singer's desire to be "An animal, Gazelle Boy", the majestical riff-fest of Superpowered brings the album to an almighty close. Riding in on a rolling beat which the bass then nails down, the first first riff kicks in as Gordon again almost dreamily asserts: "I can see tomorrow, neearly just as clearly as yesterday". The track then explodes with one furious riff after the next, and the whole thing builds into an almighty crescendo. Although not quite as ambitious as their next album's Loud And Clear, it is a perfectly concise five minute example of the band perfectly doing exactly what they do best.
Baby Chaos really deserved for this album to get much more recognition than it ever did, and although a few people started to catch on to their brilliance following Love Yourself Abuse, they were unfortunately forced into calling it a day when their drummer, Davy Greenwood, suffered the recurrence of a serious heart condition. He thankfully survived, but Baby Chaos were no more, and we were left wondering what could have been but thankful for the two stunning albums they did release.