Inca Babies ‘Deep Dark Blue’ – album review

Inca Babies ‘Deep Dark Blue’ (Black Lagoon Records)
Released 5th November 2012

‘Deep Dark Blue’ is the sixth album from Inca Babies, the follow up to 2010’s ‘Death Message Blues‘ – If ‘Death Message Blues’ was a collection of loss and acceptance, after the untimely death of original bassist Bill Marten, then, ‘Deep Dark Blue’ is a reflection of songs about hope and endeavour, but with the usual mischief and lyrical mendacity reminiscent of previous recordings, and demonstrates that the rekindled outfit are a force to be reckoned with.

In the past Inca Babies have been too readily compared to both The Birthday Party and The Cramps, though if I was fronting a band in receipt of such plaudits I wouldn’t be complaining too loudly…however such comparisons do not really convey quite were Inca babies currently find themselves. The previous album ‘Death Message Blues’ (Black Lagoon) was partially written when the previous bassist Bill Marten was still with the band, sadly Marten died in 2008 prior to its completion – as such his input and influence was clearly evident.

‘Deep Dark Blue’ is the first new full album, the product of the current Inca Babies line-up and is both a chronological and musical progression – opening with the Record Store Day 2012 AA 7” ‘My Sick Suburb’ immediately suggests that Inca Babies and certainly front man Harry Stafford has moved forward from the death of Marten, the track has a real self assured swagger to it, deep warm rolling bass, with measured drum beats that create an engaging darkness for Stafford to recollect his and Martens time when they lived in Manchester’s notorious Hulme Crescent development.

The pace quickens for ‘But Not This Time’ – again that distinctive looping bass, and strident vocals; things ease off during the title track a more subdued affair, there is something brooding, its edgy and evokes a sense of danger – gone are the proto goth flailing of early Inca Babies; the band have evolved into an alcohol sodden twisted blues outfit – the sounds they are creating transport you to a basement venue; a band on stage, young hepcats providing rhythms for a life weary yet still smiling prohibition veteran.


‘Bikini Quicksand’ has elements of past era Inca Babies, the bass is tighter, the drums cascade as the track fades to the sound of a small passenger jet passing overhead which carries us right into ‘Tower Of Babel’ which despite referencing the eventual pulling down of the Hulme Crescents has an evocative Tex Mex feel courtesy of some sublime brass refrain; a further nod to history with ‘Endgame Check Out Club’ complete with nagging guitar riff shining some light into the darkly complex sounds, the switch to the epic ‘The End Of The Blue’ is dramatic; spread over seven minutes the song weaves its sombre course with accompanying organ, laconic keyboards and sampled church bells, at times dropping away to just the bass, Stafford’s melancholic timbre perfectly complementing the entire piece.

Inca Babies have crafted a strong, confident even warm album built upon their shared life experiences – ‘Dark Deep Blue’ is full of texture, an album the sum of its parts that draws on the life experiences of its creators as such there is both darkness and light – an album that offers up much to be enjoyed. It’s the sound of camaraderie, as the albums unfolds it’s like arriving at your favourite bar, your friends are already oiling the gears, from that first sip you feel settled, and in the background Inca Babies provide the soundtrack to facedown the daily challenges because it’s a road they too have travelled.

Track List:

1. My Sick Suburb
2. But Not This Time
3. Deep Dark Blue
4. Following Jorges
5. Bikini Quicksand
6. Tower Of Babel
7. Monologues Of Madness
8. Endgame Check Out Club
9. The End Of The Blue
10. Sven Hassel v Billy The Kid
11. Slick
12. Some Kinda Reason
13. Please Don’t Talk About Me

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


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