Jangle Pop & Sonic Screensavers
In the Red Records
The Babies are a newborn jangle pop/retro-rock outfit from members of Brooklyn bands Woods and Vivian Girls.
As Peter Pan attempted to do with soap, the Babies’ self-titled debut tries to glue the shadow of rock ‘n’ roll’s past to a present lo-fi aesthetic using the leftover bubble gum from the recent Beach Boys-fab craze in indie rock.
Murkily distorted electric guitar intertwines with acoustic twang around the Courtney Love-meets-Frank Black melodies of dual vocalists Cassie Ramone and Kevin Morby. The generally sparse arrangements lend power to the simple hooks and occasional mild dissonance.
This is all done surprisingly well, rendering a product with all the accessibility—but lacking the crazed edge—of In the Red label-mates Strange Boys. That edge could have helped The Babies catch a few more ears.
Nonetheless, the Babies have presented us with a collection of solidly catchy songs and aren’t afraid to show they’re teething, saving this album from becoming sonic pablum.
The Babies (w/ Real Estate & Reversing Falls) / Jan. 18 / Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent Blvd.)
Tycho appears to be the work of a small handful of guys hanging out in an expensive
studio with nice electronics and software at their disposal.
What results is absolutely tranquil, unimposing electronica. The music is a calm tide of soft synths and bass pulsating atop drums, buried in digital sands.
The tracks on Dive tread water in a sea of reverb, a soundtrack to life in a late ‘90s infomercial for futuristic loft living. It builds a place where all life’s conflicts are resolved with the blissful click of a button on some fancy electronic appliance.
This carries hints of the electro-pop revival going on in France but without the songs. It’s a project likely for the more faint-hearted fans of Air or Röyksopp.
What this record amounts to is a series of static computer generated sunsets that perfectly evade any kind of tension or conflict and sit a little too comfortably in the lull they create. The sun never seems to go down on these sonic screen-savers.
Tycho (w/ Beacon) / Jan. 16 / Il Motore (176 Jean-Talon St. W.)
View Sam Rosenberg’s blog at jesustrashcan.blogspot.com