BB Blackdog No. Two album review Introduction
No. Two is the second album from British Steampunk Rock band BB Blackdog. Complete with artwork by Russ Leech (Dr Who comic strip illustrator) and German engineering, the 12 track album is available for £9.99 at Steampunk Records:
BB Blackdog No. Two album review Features
It can be said that BB Blackdog are truly a global band what with members from Germany, the USA and Derby. Looking at the statistics that they proudly display on their Reverbnation page, it’s surprising that they have any time to actually write a song, let alone an album including the recording, publishing and PR. Still, they’ve managed it and here is No. Two. Unsurprisingly the successor to album No. One.
The album opens with the jovial Low Blow. Although the title seems to reflect the bass line and down tempo of the drums, Dale’s higher pitched voice reminds me a little of Radiohead. The dystopian tendencies of the first track feels more like Travis though, but that soon gave way to the more light-hearted Women.
There are a number of intriguing songs on there. State of Today could be considered controversial as the band put across their views on various aspects of society. Art has long been a catalyst for creative people to do such things, so it’s not out of the ordinary. However, it targets demographics such as “benefit scroungers” and youth culture while criticising the Police. It features rap style vocals highlighting issues in Britain today with supporting vocals giving an opinion on the issue.
On a personal basis, I have to note the song Stranded in the Rain as it mentions my home town of Sheffield. The fifth largest city in the UK rarely gets noticed despite producing many successful artists, such as Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Def Leppard and Joe Cocker among many others. Given that Sheffield is so often overlooked, I chuckled at the irony of the song being about miserable weather.
It’s an interesting album of contrasts. The serious approach to many songs such as the aforementioned State of Today and Power mixes with the amusing lyrics of Women.
BB Blackdog No. Two album review Conclusion
Incredibly the raw power of the album makes you think you’re listening to BB Blackdog in a club or even something smaller, such as a pub. But the intimacy of the vocals makes you think they’re actually in your living room. This kind of rough-hewn style is rarely found on an album as recording artists prefer to make an album sound as polished and precise as possible.
I think that adds to the appeal of BB Blackdog. Indeed, they’ve been taken into the hearts of (certainly) British steampunks and adopted with a ferocity usually reserved for family members.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a couple of tracks that have what some would consider controversial lyrics. Generally there’s no real place for politics in steampunk, but as artists, music allows BB Blackdog to convey their opinions.
The biggest question is whether this is steampunk music. Steampunk music has been discussed at length and argued by musicians and non musical steampunks alike. If I was to listen to this album without knowing who BB were or seeing their act, I wouldn’t think it was made by steampunks. However, they are steampunks. They dress in steampunk clothing and interact in steampunk social circles. They also work tirelessly in the community, so there’s not really much argument.
No. Two is an interesting album with a good variety of tracks. It must be easy for artists to fall into a style (if they’ve had a popular track) in the hope of simulating that success. But BB Blackdog keep bringing out tracks that – while retaining their base style – are as different as the next.
The album is a fabulous listen. It’s funny yet thought-provoking and can be just as at home being played at home as it can being listened to in a club.
No. Two by BB Blackdog can be bought for £9.99 as a CD from Steampunk Records here: No. Two album at Steampunk Records
The CD includes an audio story read by none other than Montage Jacques Fromage. There’s also a 24 page book illustrated by Russ Leach and that adds a degree of value for money.