Barbe-Q-Barbies - 'Borrowed Time'

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Barbe-Q-Barbies - 'Borrowed Time'

This group clearly love what they do; you can feel it percolating through every note and chord.

Founded in 2002, the "Barbies" are an all-female Rock quintet from Finland, and that is the only time I shall refer to the gender of these musicians as it is totally tangential in regard to the impressive musicianship and application on display.

I first experienced this band during HRH Prog/AOR 2013 at the Magna Centre in Rotherham, England. They were the opening act of the day, but the early start and rather glacial conditions within the venue didn't stop them hitting the stage with all guns blazing. For almost an hour they dispatched some of the finest no-frills Pop Rock I'd heard in quite some time; I was totally hooked! So much so, I've been a fan ever since and acquired their previous albums – 'All Over You' (2010), 'Breaking All The Rules' (2013) and 'Driven' (2015) – in pretty quick time.

We now have 'Borrowed Time' and despite its disenchanting thirty-two-minute playing time (sadly, I disagree that less is more in this case) I believe this is the best set of songs they've manufactured hitherto. With only one personnel change since their inception, Niki (Rock) on vocals, Ekkis (Laine) on rhythm guitar, Niina (Klemetti) pounding the drums, Minttu (Muranen) on bass, and new guitarist Heidi (Meri), who replaced Kaisa (Karjalainen), have achieved the perfect balance between driving Rock and Pop catchiness. After a couple of spins, I guarantee you'll be cranking the volume up and finger-tapping, head-banging and foot-stomping like there's no tomorrow.

After the extremely short (and unavailing) 'Intro' the opus truly commences with 'Diz-Funk-tional', a hard-driving song that amalgamates Rock, Pop and of course Funk to perfection. It's a great opener, but the best is yet to come. My favourite track 'Hangman's Song', 'Made Of Scars' and 'Innocent' continue to impress with their short, sharp, scintillating rhythms, great catchy choruses and a commercialism that cries out to be heard on any self-respecting Rock radio station. 'On And On', 'Towers' and 'Radio' simply enforce that trend. 'Alive' is a slower-paced composition, but it's probably the song that's best suited for mainstream airplay. The title-track closes the opus in fine, funky style yet arguably it's the weakest song on offer.

This group clearly love what they do; you can feel it percolating through every note and chord. Niki's sassy, sultry and sensual vocal delivery, fused with musicians who are as tight as a rusty nut, make 'Borrowed Time' another highly recommended album from the "Barbies".

Dave Crompton

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