Release Date: Feb 14, 2011
Record label: Shrimper
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Pop, Noise Pop
The Babies could be called a Brooklyn "supergroup," as it’s led by Kevin Dorby, guitarist/bassist for Woods, and Cassie Ramone, lead singer of Vivian Girls. Not surprisingly, the band features elements of its principal’s main projects -- Vivian Girls’ angsty pop, Woods’s campfire rock -- but it manages to be more than the sum of its parts. Moreover, the band’s self-titled debut turns out to be a potent sonic portrait of its members’ stomping grounds.
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.
Elementary math tells us that 1+1=2. Following that logic, Vivian Girls plus Woods should equal some sort of hazy, distorted folk/garage rock/lo-fi fusion: a hybridization of danceable melodies and atmospheric, psychedelic folk. Elementary math couldn’t predict The Babies. Vivian Girls’ frontwoman Cassie Ramone alongside Woods’ bassist/guitarist Kevin Morby equals three.
Maybe you've already got your mind made up about the Babies. This side project of two of Brooklyn lo-fi's marquee acts finds Woods bassist Kevin Morby trading songwriting duties and vocals with chief Vivian Girls songwriter Cassie Ramone, whose fast-and-loose way with pitch is a source of contention in the indie rock world. Morby's Woods are a bit of a litmus test themselves, their spindly, bedhead country-folk too mellow and unfinished-sounding for some.
Kevin Morby plays bass for the gauze-folk act Woods, while Cassie Ramone heads up the sometimes dreamy, sometimes sleepy rock band Vivian Girls. Now, though, they’re together as the Babies, both singing and writing songs, and something has changed. They both seem to have gotten a shot in the arm on their eponymous debut. Well, at least some of the time, that’s how it sounds.