The Babies

The Babies

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Born out of the friendship of Woods bassist Kevin Morby and Vivian Girls singer/guitarist Cassie Ramone, the Babies' first album is not too surprisingly a pretty convincing amalgam of the two bands' sounds. From Woods come jangling, slightly stoned indie rock tunes; the fuzz and sugary clatter come from Vivian Girls. Add to that some off-kilter folk and even a little warbling country-rock and the result is quite interesting. Between the two vocalists, there aren’t a whole lot of moments you’d consider “in tune,” but they both have a ramshackle charm that fits the songs very well. Besides, being a good singer is overrated -- better to be someone who can convey a mood or a feeling in a real way like both Kevin and Cassie are able to do. Singing together as they do on many of the songs, they sound like a tipsy version of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, only they both have the same fleeting acquaintance with pitch that Nancy exhibited. The wonderfully loose and rollicking "Breakin’ the Law" is the best example of this dynamic, but it pops up a few other times as well. The duo sounds best while happily making noise, but also shows a tender side on a couple songs, especially the chimingly sweet and intimate “Voice of Thunder.” Morby’s songs are the easiest to latch onto, being rockers for the most part, with hooky choruses and shaggy lyrics sung with a lopsided grin. Ramone’s solo tunes stray far from the sound of Vivian Girls, replacing their thudding clamor with songs that have a sunny lilt (“All Things Come to Pass”) and a melancholy grace (“Wild 1”). While the record may just seem like a pleasant diversion for two friends glad to have a chance to hang out and make music, it turns out to be fun for everyone else as well. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that they could both quit their day jobs to focus on the Babies and it might be a good move, especially if they keep cranking out records as good as this.

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