Nicke Borg Homeland – Ruins Of A Riot

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Review by Brian McGowan

Gain Music Entertainment

Third solo album from Backyard Babies’ frontman, Nicke Borg, co written and produced by Mats Valentin, who’s done the same for Tony Harnell and The Poodles. Borg is something of an enigma. His band was a significant and influential component of Sweden and beyond’s Sleaze/Punk Rock scene – and still is. Yet, the next thing you hear he’s using his sabbatical from the ‘Babies to enter Sweden’s National Song Contest (he reached the final). I mean, look what happened to Lordi, for God’s sake. So, if you’re expecting a sensory overload of jaggedly tuneful punk, glam and rock, bursts of cataclysmic din and confrontational lyrics, you’ll be disappointed. Ruins Of A Riot falls somewhere between Pop mainstream and reconstructed Rock, occasionally sounding like it’s adrift in no man’s land, yet sometimes straddling both with consummate skill.

The album’s melodic opening trio, ‘This Army’, ‘Making Out With Chaos’ and ‘Midsummer Mad’ sound measured, calculated tilts at Top Forty breakthrough, embracing contemporary production techniques, undercutting bright perspectives with a hint of melancholy. It doesn’t quite work, but maybe Borg’s history is clouding today’s reality. The album truly comes alive with the balladic ‘End Of The Rainbow’. Tear stained romanticism, wrapped in barbed guitars, swaddled in soughing strings. It sounds like the work of an artist who, at some point in his career, has truly strived for that awesome melodic moment and at the very least, got damn close.

‘Borrowed Feathers’ again sounds much less contrived than the openers but just as poppy rocky. It has the pulsating immediacy of great radio poprock, the stuff that quickens the heart on repeated listening. If Max Martin, Per Aldeheim or Rami Yacoub had written this, Top Forty acts would be queuing up to record it. Elsewhere, nothing quite rises to the same height, although ‘Revolution’ and ‘Ruins Of A Riot’, compact and elegant, have a cheeky, in your face, grown up pop charm, driven by chiming guitars and Britpop swagger. In expanding his musical palate, Borg may well find mainstream success, but perversely, we might hope to the contrary, as that may mean the resumption of the ‘Babies sooner rather than later.

Nicke Borg - Ruins7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. This Army
  2. Making Out With Chaos
  3. Midsummer Mad
  4. End Of The Rainbow
  5. Borrowed Feathers
  6. Out Of Line
  7. Revolution
  8. Heartless Hooligan
  9. Ruins Of A Riot
  10. Devil Angel Mother