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babyPAUL - 2002 babyPAUL

babyPAUL - babyPAUL (2002, SELF RELEASED)
babyPAUL (Paul Gruber) - vocals, guitar
Norman Thelen - guitars
Alfredo Gruber - bass, vocals
Andy Wiesend - drums

If logical thought processes are applied, it could be argued that up and coming German bands are in a win-win situation. Look at it this way.. if David Hasselhoff can shift over 4 million records in their native country, then the sky is surely the limit for any band with a modicum of talent. And if bands are not successful in banishing such a terrible statistic to the annals of history, they can defend themselves by saying that the majority of German music fans actually don't like music. babyPAUL is one such German band hoping to prove that German music fans do recognise real talent when they hear it, and on the evidence of the majority of their self titled debut album, they are well on course to achieve that feat. Whilst the band's slightly odd name might not be it's strongest point, the poppy, melodic modern rock sound they have crafted, certainly is. The four-piece actually take their name from the band's charismatic frontman, a singer, songwriter and producer, who has reached the German charts on a number of occasions with former projects. babyPAUL's music has an alternative vibe, but is consistently coloured by undeniable hooks and a diversity that in some ways reminds me of New Zealand modern rockers The Feelers.

The Songs
Opening with the excellent rocker 'Wonderful World', the band's clean, crisp sound is as immediate as the melody, and this trend continues on the album's standout tune, 'Play With Me' a commercially minded pop-rocker with a hook that simply refuses to leave your head after just one listen. babyPAUL is certainly at their best on uptempo material like this, and it's disappointing that there aren't too many more tunes of a similar ilk, but there's still plenty more to suggest this band has a definite talent. The stripped down, pop-flavoured 'Beautiful Girl' once more demonstrates babyPAUL's knack for penning memorable songs, and it's no surprise that this song will be featured in an upcoming episode of popular TV show 'Felicity'. Meanwhile, the sassy, laid-back 'I Back Down' has something of a blues feel to it and 'Restless Hearts' is a fresh, modern sounding pop-rocker with an underlying techno-beat mixed into the loops and guitars. With a pleasant orchestral interlude, 'How Are You' is the best of a number of ballads on the album, and the moody 'I Told Myself' also wins prizes for originality.

In Summary
It's perhaps harsh to offer criticism, but the only room for improvement could be on some of the lyrics, which let down tunes like the weak 'American Songs' and 'Mr Music', but for a German band making an album in a second language, overall this is a sterling effort. In short, babyPAUL is a slick, polished and thoroughly modern album with enough quality material to suggest big things could happen for the band. Oh, and I'm reliably informed the band do not cover any David Hasselhoff material in their live show either.

Track Listing:
01 Wonderful World
02 Play With Me
03 Beautiful Girl
04 I Back Down
05 Restless Hearts
06 How Are You
07 I Told Myself
08 American Songs
09 Mr Music

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