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INCA BABIES (Buy CDs by this artist)
The Big Jugular EP (UK Black Lagoon) 1984
Rumble (UK Black Lagoon) 1985
Surfin' in Locustland EP (UK Black Lagoon) 1985
The Train (UK Black Lagoon) 1986
Opium Den (Black Lagoon/Fundamental) 1987
Evil Hour (Communion) 1988

There's not much to say about early releases by Manchester's Inca Babies beyond noting that the band makes every conceivable effort to be the Birthday Party. Each member emulates his BP counterpart, but the Inca Babies lack the original's power and completely miss the dark humor. Even the song titles on the early records have a familiar ring: "16 Tons of Fink," "Cactus Mouth Informer," "Luecotomy Meat Boss." Real tribute-band stuff.

Adding a member for Opium Den, Inca Babies toned down the Birthday Party-isms and enhanced their presentation with raw psychedelia and some dirty (if dilettantish) country-blues. Lead singer Harry S combines his Nick Cave imitation with a gratuitous and phony southern accent (the American South, that is). Still, Opium Den shows that the band is capable of producing work with its own signature, or at least drawing from more than one influence. (But the inclusion of lyrics is an ill-advised move.)

The next year, the Babies came up with Evil Hour, a solid piece of work following in its predecessor's style. They're not re-inventing the wheel here, but they have developed into their own band. Although tempos occasionally approach hardcore velocity on Side Two (usually at the expense of hooks), there are actually melodies you might find yourself humming later on, lots of nifty organ washes (courtesy of Clint Boon of Inspiral Carpets) and really nice clear-but-raw sound.

[David Sheridan]