God Bless The Blake Babies

Blake Babies

Zoe / Rounder Records, 2001

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blake_Babies

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/06/2001

OK, I admit it. I'm not a huge fan of the alternative rock subgenre that for lack of a better word I'll call "Little Girl Angst" - female vocalists with breathy voices singing how weird they are, how bitter life is, and how miserable and vulnerable they are.

I'm not that big a fan of alternative rock to begin with, and when you combine it with posturing angst I tend to just tune out. However, if one likes that sort of thing, the Blake Babies Juliana Hatfield, John Strohm, and Freda Love are seminal influences in the field, with CDs like my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Earwig and Sunburn being classics of the genre.

Since the days of the Blake Babies, Hatfield has had a successful career with both the Lemonheads and on her own, and Strohm and Love have had projects of their own. Now, ten years later, they decided to get back together and record a new CD of material, exploring the group's past chemistry from a maturer viewpoint.

The question is: does God Bless The Blake Babies manage to do this? The answer is, depends on how you look at it. Mostly, no. On the one hand, there are a few tracks that are good. "Until I Almost Died" is an interesting look at how one moment can change how you look at life. "Picture Perfect" is just a pretty good pop song, as is "What Did I Do?"

Then there's where the music drowns in its own misery. "Brain Damage" is just...well...bad, a call and response paean to avoiding reality through drug abuse that proves Darwin was right. "When I See His Face" is a flat, dull, adolescent rock song, Christina Aguilera on heavy downers. "On" just drones like a bad bagpipe player. None of these songs are badly recorded or performed - the Blake Babies are all skilled musicians - but frankly SUM41's "Fat Lip" summarizes this much adolescent angst in a much funnier and accessible fashion.

This CD says nothing new and does nothing unusual. If you like this genre of music, I suspect that God Bless is the cat's meow, the ne plus ultra, the Beatles getting back together or something of the sort. From the viewpoint of a non-enthusiast, it's a piece of music that has its moments when it can rise above its own content of malaise, angst, and twentysomething drama queen follies. But they're few and far between. If this sort of thing is your cup of tea, then I suppose my advice is go right ahead. Otherwise, don't waste your time.

Rating: C-

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© 2001 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Zoe / Rounder Records, and is used for informational purposes only.