Made Out of Babies

Coward

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Recorded with legendary -- uh -- "recorder" Steve Albini in Chicago, this, the second full-length from Brooklyn's Made Out of Babies, is a fine record, but may not quite be the step forward one would have hoped for after the band's excellent debut, Trophy. That said, Coward is still one hell of a record. If one needs proof that the bandmembers have yet to let their critical success and status in the underground get to them, all one needs is to start playing the disc. Opening with the frantic "Silverback," Made Out of Babies display an even more manic Julie Christmas with a band that is even more intent on upping the sonic ante. But from there on out, there's a feeling that the band let go of a little bit of their sound to Mr. Albini. While Trophy was a powerfully "metal" record, Coward feels a little more '90s Chicago indie rock, sounding more Shellac than anything (the bass on most of the tracks feels like it was lifted right off of At Action Park). And honestly, if you're going to go after a "sound," anything Albini had his hand in is certainly viable, but Made Out of Babies have proven that they don't need to ape anyone else's work. As it is, it's a solid record ("Out" and "Gunt" are up there with their best work) -- it's still powerful and heavy, and Julie Christmas' power is undeniable, but Coward seems to be a bit more concerned with playing with space and sounds rather than real musical muscle.

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