It’s been 20 years between drinks (or the break between studio records) for our very own, Baby Animals. Yet, their third effort, This Is Not The End has moments that will make you think their nineties heyday was only yesterday. A come-back record of sorts, this one offers a consistent album of solid rock tunes.

The 11 tracks again see the band’s strong frontwoman, Suze DeMarchi pairing up with guitarist, Dave Leslie. They are joined by a new rhythm section- Dario Bortolin (bass) and Mick Skelton (drums and percussion). This new addition means the group sound enthusiastic and fresh without turning their backs entirely on their fruitful past.

Opening single, ‘Email’ is pure rock that chugs along and is the first of a few tracks to handle the subject of breaking up. DeMarchi’s marriage to Extreme guitarist, Nuno Bettencourt was a recent and noticeably raw event and topic. This song frames the lyrics through describing miscommunication in relationships and sees backing vocals layered to the nines, meaning the overall sound is akin to seventies rock.

‘Bonfires’ is an altogether easier listen. This one fuses hard and soft moments, creating something soulful while DeMarchi gets nostalgic about her past. ‘Warm Bodies’ on the other hand sees the group change tact with a ballad not unlike the cuts on their acoustic album from a few years ago. This number also grows exponentially in the warm and sultry stakes, meaning comparisons between this particular frontwoman and the late Chrissy Amphlett and Chrissie Hynde could be appropriate.

This Is Not The End tackles a few different styles- from dark and broody break-up ballads to the energetic rock songs for which they are known. At other moments the rough edges are smoothed over ever so slightly, allowing the band to explore the realm of power pop while ‘Invisible Dreamer’ is their slowest, most expansive creation-to-date.

For my money the band are at their best when DeMarchi channels her heartbreak and anger into some defiant rock. ‘Hot Air Balloon’ is perhaps the finest example of this. A raucous anthem with a blues-style; it shares a few things in common with White Stripes’ ‘I’m Slowly Turning Into You’. The record isn’t all about melancholy and staring forlorn at whisky bottles (although there is some of this); because things do finish on a positive note with ‘Winters Day’ being all hope and optimism about what events potentially lie ahead.

Baby Animals have been through their fair share of ups and downs for one life-time and now return rather triumphantly after a long hiatus. It’s written all over what is ultimately a confident, new rock record. The group are a little older and wiser and are happy for their raw emotions and wounds to be on full display. Rather than stay in a corner and lick these or fade into obscurity, they put on a pretty good rock show and that’s all that really matters.

Originally published on 30 July 2013 at the following website:

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