All music lovers have them. Those bands and artists that mean the world to them, but have somehow not managed to break through in to the wider consciousness of the world of others. Or, if they did achieve that breakthrough, have somehow dropped back from whence they came, beneath the proverbial radar.
One such band for me are Australia’s Baby Animals. I can still remember being an awkward rock-loving teen, opening the pages of 1993’s Kerrang! Direktory of Heavy Metal and reading the entry about this band of whom I had never heard, but who were written of in hallowed terms:
“[Frontwoman, Suze] DeMarchi is indisputably one of the very few positive role models for female musicians. She wouldn’t be seen dead in a Gaulthier bustier and wields a mean guitar. Femininity and balls? She’s got it. Highly Recommended album: Baby Animals (Imago, 1991 – KKKKK)”
The band had achieved platinum sales in their native land and looked set to make an impact internationally. Then, just as interest had been peaked and their sophomore album released, Suze DeMarchi required throat surgery and had to cut short a 1994 tour. The Imago label to which they were signed then folded in 1995. The band broke up shortly after in 1996.
Though as the mainstream music business continues to splinter into fragments of what we once knew, Baby Animals – along with other forward thinking artists – are back and managing to find new and inventive ways of connecting directly with their audience. Elements of the DIY philosophy in particular are now being used by more than just the new young band trying to make inroads in to their local music scene.
Working independently, Suze DeMarchi (vocals, guitar) and Dave Leslie (lead guitar) are spearheading Baby Animals’ comeback with their first new album in 20 years, This Is Not The End. Pre-launch, the band used social media wisely and effectively to help generate word of mouth about the release. Not only that, but they worked with Social Family Records in Australia to sell the music directly to fans, offering a range of album packages that would deliver more than just a CD in a box. Signed copies on CD or vinyl? Not a problem! Wall posters (also signed if desired)? Okay! Beer stubby coolers, concert tickets with hospitality and competitions to have dinner with the band? Great!
Even now, the band are preparing to record a live show and release it as a DVD. Pre-order a signed copy now and you’ll also get a live EP, access to a digital download of the new album, and a name-check in the closing credits. Not bad for a band beating their own drum and not working with the backing of a ‘major’ label.
But all of this DIY work ethic would be wasted if the music wasn’t worth listening to, right? Which is why I’m pleased to say that This Is Not The End is a belting record and contains some of the Animals’ most affecting music. From opening salvo “E-mail”, through the poetic epic “Invisible Dreamer” and on to the more delicate closer “Winter’s Day”, it’s everything you would hope for from Baby Animals 2.0.
But don’t take my word for it. The band’s approach and hard work have given them a new lease of life and connected them with their faithful fan base once again. Come on in and join the DIY revival.
Visit the Baby Animals: thebabyanimals.com
This Is Not The End on iTunes: iTunes.com