Being handed a cd with a medical drawing of a scapular and humerus on the cover would be enough to pique my interest, being told that the music contained within is by a Belgian rock trio, is enough to make me grab the cd and run off home like Charlie Bucket with his Golden Ticket.
I would say that there has been an influx of new punk music these last few years, brought on by the success of bands like ‘Idles’ and the Australian ‘Amyl and the Sniffers’. But I don’t think punk has ever really gone away and, in the modern world of cancel culture and forced censorship, perhaps punk is needed more so than ever.
Baby Fire comprises Dominique Van Cappellen-Waldock on vocals and guitar, Lucille Beauvais on guitar and keyboards and Cecile Gonay on bass. The drums seem to be shared out between guest musicians and what is broadly described as ‘loops’. There is a blend of shoe-gazing, some prog rock, operatic vocals and post-punk sounds that Joy Division would be proud of. Overall, the sound reminds me of David Bowie’s ‘Girl Loves Me’ which is dark, brooding, and menacing but also very listenable, mixed in with guitar fuzz that St. Vincent has been working with.
There is a strong balance between the dark music and the vocal style, having the tone low down really gives the vocals a strong foundation and allows it to often feel as if the music can take flight from the heavy floor.
The album is good, I know that sounds like a cop-out but it needs repeat listens to really hit home. At times it sounds too light, by this I mean that the guitar could do with some more grunt, and the drums need more passion and aggression, I can’t help but wonder if the album was trimmed (by this I mean removing ‘Prayer’, ‘Sing In Brightness’ and ‘Eternal’) we would be talking about a fantastic EP rather than an album that sounds as if less would be more.
There are some stand-out tracks in ‘A Spell’, ‘Grace’, ‘Like William Blake’ and there is a good shift in tone by introducing a duet in ‘Love’ and, as I say, the album really benefits from listening to it more than once.