“Naught” by Stolen Babies will inevitably fall in the category of “avant-garde” music just because each and every song here does not showcase any particular music style. In reality, this album revolves around a randomly disorganized array of various musical themes that we all already stumbled upon at some point in our life. Therefore, since the abused elegant definition “avant-garde” refers to a truly active innovation, it would be safe to say that “Naught” doesn’t fit this description.
“Never Come Back” is all about alternative distorted guitars with a groovy grotesque attitude. There are some raspy screams and some hardcore moments that tend to be deliberately dissonant.
“Splatter” has a repetitive funky rhythm that could be considered catchy but not memorable. The accordion is a graceful touch but it ends up getting lost in the mix.
“Second Sleep” still dwells in the cabaret realm but has an icy dark atmosphere. This song seems to flow more naturally in terms of songwriting and execution. There is also a feeble ambiance feeling that effortlessly embraces the rock guitars.
“Behind The Days” is a polka style mini song that serves as intro for the chaotic “Mousefood”. Here Stolen Babies tries to get more aggressive with a faster and tighter rhythmic section. The main musical theme resembles a gloomy circus soundtrack but it gets buried by the instrumental ensemble that creates a lot of sonic confusion.
“Swimming Hole” brings a 1920’s cabaret attitude mixed with a polka dance rhythm and a vintage gramophone sound effect. The vocals have a theatrical/vaudeville delivery that reminds of Emilie Autumn.
It’s hard to take seriously “Birthday Song” with its perennial carnival cacophony, the sloppy ironic vocals and the overwhelming search for unusual interesting sounds.
“Grubbery (Burnt To A Crisp)” has a deliciously vintage sound fully developed through a sequence of sentimental piano melodies. While the guitars and the vocals keep a creepy atmosphere, there is also a classical jazz rhythm.
Stolen Babies’ attempt to overcome the typical musical boundaries can be easily appreciated throughout the album. Yet, the songs included on “Naught” fail to achieve a musical consistency and often lack a much needed catchy attitude. You could consider “Naught” as a twisted source of temporary entertainment.