Review: Barb Wire Dolls – Desperate

Barb Wire Dolls - DesperateThe story of the Barb Wire Dolls starts for myself back on 5th Sept 2014 at Bannermans Edinburgh in what was one of the most explosive live band performances I have ever seen (check out the full Flickr album). I had not heard or seen the band up until that time but am totally a convert these days and am happy to be seeing them again back at Bannermans in Oct 16.

This album has been a while in the making as original album Slit came out in 2012. The band are now a five piece with Jay Jay’s departure and now with her replacement Iriel Blaque on bass, along with Remmington on rhythm guitar and regulars Isis Queen on vocals, Pyn Doll lead guitar and Krash Doll on drums.

Desperate is sandwiched between classic old school punk and rock/metal and will easily appeal to both factions. They’re even playing a major rock/metal festival Wacken in August.

First up is “Drown” (the video is down the bottom), an angst ridden track with the band crunching through this uptempo track with Isis in fine form. This song sets the pace for the rest of the album.

We get “Surreal” next with a crunching guitar lead in before the vocals of Isis take us on a trip of a track that could easily have fitted in with the grunge Seattle sound, with hints of Nirvana and early Foos. The track runs at a fair pace that will have you bouncing about good style. The band sound truly invigorated on this new release.

Old school guitar sounds lead us into “Take Me Home”. There are so many familiar sounds on this album that it’s hard to pin down along with the stunning vocals on Isis. The production on this album shines through along with the bands new members making this a fuller sounding album, the addition of Remmington along with Pyn is very evident on this track.

The band give us a “Heart Attack” as they kick in Sex Pistols style, a tasty slice of old school punk that will have those audiences jumping about. There are not enough bands out there playing this style getting enough attention – hopefully The Dolls will change that. A lot of so-called American punk has gone pretty mainstream, while this is the real deal… albeit via Greece originally.

Photo by Gary Cooper
Photo by Gary Cooper

The title track now, “Desperate” with Isis’s laid back vocals on this punk/rock track blending in nicely with the guitars and Krash in the background. The guitars kick in towards the end as Krash keeps up with Isis screaming “don’t you walk away”, a killer track ending.

“Blind to your Misery” sees a nice acoustic opening until Isis kicks in with her hypnotic voice backed up by Iriel on bass. This rocks at a great pace, one of the standout tracks for me with hints of Big Country here and there. This is a song that takes me back to my youth, I’m smiling as I write this just thinking about it.

“I will Sail” with soulful vocals from Isis leads us into the track with the band rocking out behind her as she sails away. This is a band that can raise us up punk style and bring us down with a more mellow sound that still retains the power that we expect from the Barb Wire Dolls. A fantastic track, another standout for myself.

“Darby Crash” smashes in old school, think a souped up version of Siouxsie and the Banshees at least for this reviewer (others may differ in their thoughts) – a rocking fast paced track.

“Problem of the Poet” has all the band going for it as we enter this track with Iriel in particular standing out. Isis reckons she doesn’t give a damn here but I reckon she does. I do believe someone will come and save her soul with a voice like that.

So last track on the new album, “Rhythm Method”, sees the band sounding like a moody homage to early UK punk with Isis stating that she does not want to sell her love, a stunning end to the album.

This is a collection of tracks where they have combined the sound from their earlier work with singer Isis Queen achieving a more laid back sound at times, but what helps this album to stand-out are the guitar riffs from lead guitarist Pyn Doll, and with new rhythm guitarist Remmington the band have a much fuller, tighter guitar sound. This is a band happy with who they are and where they are, no airs or graces what you see is what you get. No wonder they signed with Motorhead Music with Lemmy having such a similar ethos.

There are no duff tracks on this album. Each one could easily be put out as a single and that is rare is this music world today. I for one cannot wait to see and hear this album live in a few weeks time.

Desperate is released through Motorhead Music on July 22nd. Do yourselves a favour – get it and check the band out live on the upcoming tour dates.


1. Drown
2. Surreal
3. Take Me Home
4. Heart Attack
5. Desperate
6. Blind To Your Misery
7. I Will Sail
8. Darby Crash
9. Problem Of The Poet
10. Rhythm Method

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August 2, 2016 5:46 PM

[…] Punk/grunge/metal rebels Barb Wire Dolls have announced a handful of UK dates in support of their recent album Desperate. Fronted by the whip-smart vocal and fashion icon Isis Queen (named after the Greek Goddess […]

October 19, 2016 10:39 AM

[…] and that still holds today. The band are touring on the back of the excellent new album Desperate (reviewed here), released on Lemmy’s Motorhead label and signed up by the man himself which says it […]