Babies Three – self-titled LP
Long-term fans of British DIY hardcore may remember Margate’s Babies Three, who were about between ’99 and ’04 and released a handful of records before briefly changing their name and splitting up. I never got to see them but they toured Europe with Yaphet Kotto and Song of Zarathustra, which is pretty fucking badass.
So, this record – TB3LP to give it its official name – is a collection of the band’s early EPs, 7″s and the like that preceded their breakup. I don’t have any of these original releases so I’m not sure which records are collected here and when the various tracks were recorded, so suffice to say that you have 12 tracks which are variably good and average.
Take for example first track ‘Guilt Free Youth’, with a powerful edge of desperation to its sound, a rapid pace and a plaintive screamo-esque edge to the vocals, or ‘Wimpfest’, with its bruising hardcore punk riffs, full-steam-ahead drumming and throaty roars – these remind me of the old ebullition acts I used to love like Bread & Circuits and Torches to Rome. These tunes have a lot of energy to them and stand up well today even given their age. ‘The Message’ adopts a few metal tricks, fusing them to a yelping hardcore structure and liberally peppering the resultant mix with evocative octave chords. Then there is ‘Hate Uniform’ which has much more of an early-00s British alt-rock feel to it – I’m reminded a little of Copperpot Journals and Hell Is For Heroes, or even Hundred Reasons.
On the flipside of the coin there are weaker tracks like ‘Barbie and Me’, a gentler but still fairly rocky tune which does not do a great job of highlighting the band’s vocal strengths. Like ‘Hate Uniform’ this tune is reminescent of those aforementioned British alt-rock bands but unlike ‘Hate Uniform’ it has not aged well.
TB3LP is an uneven record which feels dated in places, but this is only to be expected given its provenance. It’ll be of interest to those who were active gig-goers and record collectors in the era from which these songs date, or to those punk rock archaeologists who love to delve into the past, but its appeal beyond such is limited – although given that it’s a free download there’s certainly no harm in giving it a try!
More interestingly, though, it is a wholly DIY project that hails the return of the band to active duty, and I look forward to seeing where they take their music from here on.