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Presse le 08-02-2008

Sometimes things take a little longer than expected. Back in the Nineties, Babyoil were the big thing in the local underground, playing convoluted psychedelic rock with female twin singers and occasional violin parts. Maybe they were just ahead of their time, with enough bad luck added, but in the early days of the new millennium, they quit and it took them a few years to get back together, although only the two guitarists are left, with Sebb taking over the vocals. No more female harmonies, no more violins, a more stripped down sound overall, and I have to admit that the first time I saw this new inception of Babyoil, I had some difficulties of getting to like them. Too much has changed since their first album, but it turns out that this is what makes Score such a refreshing album. Instead of repeating themselves, they have rather reinvented themselves by firmly rooting themselves in Nineties alternative rock. You could call it old-fashioned, but I prefer to label it as timeless music.

The album starts with the driving I Go, followed by the moving Demon, an introspective analysis with an astonishing amount of catchiness, making this track not only the first highlight of the album, but also establishing Babyoil as a band that effortlessly can combine sweaty rock with airplay compatibility. Other pop tracks are Freakshow and Over The Cloud, where the quartet again convinces with spectacular melodies that refuse to leave your memory. But there is also a darker side to Babyoil, highlighted best in the politically charged Talking Books where the distortion factor is higher, aiming for a postrock sensitivity that never becomes arty though. Also the eight minute long instrumental Penguin which ends the CD is a masterpiece of monumental atmospheric rock music.

The production is excellent, highlighting the crunchy guitars, and Sebb is an excellent singer whose vocal range is very expansive and displays presence and charisma. Babyoil are hard to compare to other bands, let’s try it with Sonic Youth without the intellectual pretence, and we are already close. On Score, they celebrate the music they love, and always find the right balance between testosterone fuelled straightforwardness and poppy catchiness. Babyoil may not adhere to one of the currently popular movements like metalcore or punk, but they are mature enough to be able to stand on their own and convince with an unexpectedly great album. Welcome back, boys!