The Barbarellatones - 'Surf Narcs' (Barbarellatones Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Saturday, 24 July 2010 05:00

barbarellatonesI was getting an itch I couldn't scratch. I was jonesing for some new Barbarellatones material. The second half of 2010 was upon us and I hadn't had a new album from the usually-prolific Robbie Quine to contend with. Then suddenly, there he is, fingering my inbox and telling me that a new album is on the way.....


'Surf Narcs' - featuring possibly my favourite Barbarellatones artwork yet - is slipped into my stereo and, as the virtual needle hits my audio vein, a dark cloud of doubt surrounds me. Is my love affair with Quine now purely platonic? The reason for this cock rock block? The first song is a cover of 'Time Warp'. Now, anyone familiar with the band will have to admit that this tune is prime for a Robbie redux but I've always had a problem with it. Cult film nerd that I am, by beef ain't with O'Brien, Curry, Sarandon, The Loaf; I have no issues with this being something of a cover version standard; no, the route cause of my distaste was several Rocky Horror themed house parties that I somehow found myself a part of whilst in my teens. Thrown as either excuses for closet homosexuals to wear lingerie or for pretentious students to be, like, totally outrageous maaan. Scarred me. The parties I wanted to go to at that age were the ones where Michael Berryman would come crashing in on a motorcycle or there was a donkey taking drugs. Honestly though, this version of the song is as good as its gonna get for me with Quine reworking it in expert fashion.


It takes all of nineteen seconds after the song ends for The Barbarellatones to get me back in the Ex-Sex-Ive Machine. "Iggy Pop / Played with Bowie's cock" is the lyrical couplet that opens the song named after The Stooges frontman and Quine's famous wordplay is back for the attack. Another surefire classic follows - 'Lesbotron' - and I'm sold. But what's this? Another timeless cover tune already? 'I Saw Her Standing There' gets a fabulous makeover and, y'know, I'm sure those lyrics about pubic hair weren't in the original.


There may have been times in the past where the trashy charm of The Barbarellatones may have come across as something of a cheap date. But now, with the regular knob-twiddling of producer Paul Roessler, the band sound better than ever; this is now a night out with a classier broad - all teeth and limbs intact. Seriously, this must be how Robbie Quine always imagined the band would sound. 'Bird Of Prey', for example, is possibly the best this band have ever sounded and then, as is Quine's way, it is followed by the fuzzy 'Haole Boyz' with its Star Trek middle section. You gotta love this guy!


The album's title track is a retro sleeper that is quickly followed by a trademark Barbarellatone-tune, 'Night Of The Flesh Eating Dolls', that is a B-Movie in brooding song form. 'Medication Time' is a tripped-out number with a lyrical nod to The Hoff while 'Death Wave 2000', like the title track, at least offers the album's theme a bone. 'It's All Your Fault' rocks out with its cock ring out - some tasty hooks on this number - before 'Shangri La' offers a rare glimpse of subtlety. The fourteenth (bargain!) and final track 'The Last Party' is a fitting way to end the album; sounds great.


So, my writer/rock star relationship with Robbie Quine is back on. It's always a good day when a new Barbarellatones album comes scratching at my door and today is no different. Actually, it is different. The albums are getting better, sounding better. The next one is, therefore, gonna be a stunner. I'll be sad if it isn't here before the end of the year!