Release Date: Sep 18, 2015
Record label: Glassnote Entertainment Group
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Taking a step away from the shadow he cast with New York giants Vampire Weekend, bassist Chris Baio is making the name he was given his own. ‘The Names’ is Baio’s first full-length solo release. Infusing the blissful indie pop of his band with his own affinity for dance music, Baio has wrapped up soaring sentiments in a multi-textured release capable of making bodies move as much as it soothes.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. On first thoughts, the idea of Chris Baio moonlighting as a dance DJ and electronic artist might seem a little strange, but carry out some perfunctory digging on the Vampire Weekend backstory and it all starts to make sense. Prior to picking up the bass full-time, Baio spent his student years DJing and running a radio station where he not only discovered the Eastern and Western African music that would eventually inform a large part of the band's effervescent rhythmic backdrop, but also dug up UK house and electronic influences such as The Chemical Brothers and Prodigy.
Really smart people are always weird; it’s part of their charm. When Vampire Weekend were just starting out, much of their story revolved around being a group of Columbia-educated white kids with a weary, barely-post-academia take on Afropop. And now, while Ezra Koenig makes his mad genius known with eclectic features, Governors Ball antics, and a seemingly permanent state of bemusement, his dutifully humble bassist Chris Baio explores his extracurricular musical persona more subtly.
How you react to learning that Chris Baio titled his debut album after a Don DeLillo novel might depend on your view of his day job as Vampire Weekend's bassist. Fans will look forward to unravelling the literary allusions in clever pop songs, while others might see it as proof that the New York band are smart arses in danger of suffocating under self-satisfaction. The Names certainly won't disappoint the former, but it doesn't give much ammunition for the latter.Sure, there are references to Bergman, Dostoyevsky and abstract painter Robert Delaunay.