“There Be Squabbles Ahead” by Stolen Babies

Artist: Stolen Babies
Title: “There Be Squabbles Ahead”
Label: The End Records
Release Date: 10/3/2006
Genre: Dark Gothic Cabaret
Rating: 4/5

Come with me dear readers on a journey deep inside the depths of the beer halls where the insane come to mingle. For the price of entry and a two-drink minimum, I ask that you join me at a table off to the side of the stage where tonight’s performers are the Stolen Babies. TSB is an Avant-Garde/Gothic/Metal Cabaret group that is led by Dominique Lenore Persi who is the bands singer/screamer and accordion player. Ms. Persi has a voice that is beautiful and melodic in one second and then the raving screams of a lunatic at the others. She is quite the dynamic performer and the rest of her group is no different. They are indeed a fascinating, interesting and very mystifying unit and their debut release on The End Records will leave you scratching your head even after several listens. It is really one of the most eclectic and curious groups that I ever had the pleasure of listening to. The four-piece ensemble has a very strong visual presence but sadly you lose this on an audio CD – the photos on their website and by the included video for “Push Button” prove that they are a “must see” type of band and come off like a cross between the weird kids in the school band mixed with Alice Cooper ala Torch Singer with a dab of Metal. Confused? Good, because I have listened to it four times and I am still like “hmmmm”. The winning tracks like “Push Button” and “Lifeless” show the levels of diversity that is possessed by the group while the opening track “Spill” is simply a throttling Metal number. The groups association with the members of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum leads to appearances of that band on the recording and it helps add a little more to the overall strangeness of the piece. We have Dan Rathburn from SGM doing tuba and vocals while Carla Kihlstedt adds violin. Rounding out the lineup of The Stolen Babies are Rani Sharone (guitars), Ben Rico (keyboards) and Gil Sharone (drums).

It’s really a fun album for as each track progressed you are left wondering how they came up with it and what could possibly be next. I have to hand it to The End Records, because based on TSB, The Unexpect and Lordi they are showing that there are no rules to follow when it comes to Metal, Rock, and all that lies between the two peaks. There are progressive things here, melodic and metal things, harmony and disharmony and when it is finished I dare you to not give it one more spin, confident in your ability to “get it” the next time around. The Gothic Cabaret aspect of the band might appeal to those who enjoy Dresden Dolls, but TSB are fare heavier than that pair which left me saying if you are a fan of Mr. Bungle, Oingo Boingo, Cradle Of Filth and the like then this is definitely for you. The band includes lyrics to all these rantings for your better understanding and all the original artwork in there is done by Crab Scrambly (noted indie comic artist). “There Be Squabbles Ahead” makes very clear the bands ability to stand defiant against convention and leave you thinking/confused when it has all passed you by.

Track Listing:
1. Spill
2. Awful Fall
3. Filistata
4. A Year Of Judges
5. So Close
6. Tablescrap
7. Swint? Or Slude?
8. Mind Your Eyes
9. Lifeless
10. Tall Tales
11. Push Button
12. Gathering Fingers
13. The Button Has Been Pushed
14. Push Button – video

Official Website: www.stolenbabiestheband.com

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