“Sleaze rock” can be a bit hit and miss for me. Sometimes it sounds really forced, and not quite real.
Babylon Shakes are nothing short of genuine to my ears, and I think the key is in the weathered punk rock meets blues journeyman vocals that we hear on opening track Making a Million, and throughout the entire album.
Sunset Striptease follows suit perfectly, really driven home by the guitar work and some well placed cow bell. Sin Parade opens with a series of cool guitar riffs, but the higher notes in the vocals lose me a bit here. I get the impression that the band have lived the exact scenario depicted in No Pictures Please, lending to their believability as a “sleaze” rock band – and that’s not an insult.
Velveteen Libertine is a rollicking bluesy number, and my favourite track on offer. Silver Tongue Devil features a groove that is hard to ignore, while Hardtimes offers up another set of lyrics that you just know the band have legitimately lived through.
Die Pretty is a fairly standard song in comparison to the rest of the album. It’s good, but very familiar. Star in Your Eyes is as close to a ballad as Babylon Shakes are going to get. It’s almost country in nature and sound, and wouldn’t be out of place on a Brett Michaels solo album.
Motel Lights is the final track, and while the best hasn’t been saved until last, the massive bass line alone makes this a pretty memorable track. Overall Exile to the Velveteen Lounge is a decent album that will neither make or break Babylon Shakes.