Tuesday, January 17, 2012
REVIEW: The Babies - Cry Along With the Babies EP
As I've written before, I have a fondness for indie music with a genuine DIY feel to it. Probably prime examples are local icons Beat Happening and the beloved Glasgow bands, The Vaselines and The Pastels. So I was quite happy to explore the new EP of demos, Cry Along With the Babies, by Brooklyn band The Babies. The six tracks, amounting to twenty minutes of music, reveal a band working on ideas, taking risks, and learning what they can do well. While a few of the tracks were re-recorded and re-worked to appear on other recordings, the versions on this EP remain in their raw and vulnerable form.
The first song is "Big Mercedes", a charming acoustic song that would fit proudly in a K Records compilation. "Trouble" features probably my favorite guitar accompaniment of the album, and may be my favorite song of the set at this point.
The Babies - Trouble by New Images
"My Tears" takes the set back to the acoustic side, and serves as a sweet 1:37 bridge to the aching Americana of "More Stage". "Hey Mama" features an catchy blues riff over a shimmering pseudo bass rhythm, and is "number 2 with a bullet" for me on this album. "That Boy" closes the album out on an appealing electro-folk note.
This album is what I call a grower. At first listen, the reaction is "nice". Second time through it is "I really enjoyed that". Third time through you start noticing delightful little details you missed in earlier sessions. It is a heady mix of Americana and dusty, trip-worn DIY, and we all want more if it.
The Babies are Kevin Morby (also in Woods), Cassie Ramone (also in Vivian Girls), Justin Sullivan, and Brian Schleyer. Their prior releases include the 7" Meet Me in the City on Make a Mess Records, All Things Come to Pass on Wild World, a self-titled album on Shrimper, the 7" Here Comes Trouble on Teenage Teardrops, and a cassette entitled Live at the Smell on Kill/Hurt. Cry Along With the Babies is released on New York label New Images, which is run by Matt Mondanile of Real Estate and Ducktails. The connection goes a bit deeper as The Babies are touring this month with Real Estate.