Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baby Boy - 2010 Tour CD (2010)

Split / Demo, Self-released / Independent
October 29th, 2010

Genre: Post-Hardcore
Region: USA

Here's one I've been meaning to get up here since I returned from the Gilead Media fest, which is where I first heard Baby Boy as well. Don't know if any other blogs have a link up for this. Also I'm pretty sure they're goofing on the horrendous movie with the same name, but luckily the music here is leagues better than the movie.

I know post-hardcore is often used as a tag that masks screamo bands to make them more marketable these days (apparently Fugazi is the only true post-hardcore band) and I myself have a hard time placing what the tag exactly means these days, but I feel it's appropriate for this group's sound.

Baby Boy is comprised of 3 members of Thou (Andy, Mitch and Josh) and is the complete opposite of that wonderfully heavy, socio-politically charged, and dark group both in terms of sound and aesthetic. It's an extremely catchy batch of 8 songs (one of which is not available on their bandcamp page) which are light-hearted though still weighty, sometimes melodic and twangy. Most of the material here runs just over 2 minutes with a few exceptions but are fairly dense and noisy, with all members contributing vocals (together and separately) that are in the hardcore vein of things: screamed as their convey frustration. Lyrics dealing with fairly straight forward punk themes (religion, reason, race) while others are more vague and open to interpretation. They're easy to hear without the sheet though as, while the vocals are harsh, they are clean enough to be decipherable.

There are some excellent and catchy riffs here too. The opening section of Handwriting and the final third of Wake Up have some addictive sections that leave you wanting more, and In Our Blood has some tight grooves running though the whole length with a fair bit of noise draping the guitars, while a more clean riff supports it underneath with the bass. With the song Lovers it starts of with some pretty harmonics, playful and clean but dips back and forth between more muddy powerchords before the hook kicks in and the instruments drop out.

Other tracks become more melodic, slower paced, as can be heard in What I Did On My Summer Vacation which is quite beautiful right from the beginning — drifting ever more softly the further it progresses into the warm haze of melancholic chords and effects. There's a subtle hint of post-rock but the track does not over indulge itself here, keeping to their bouncy style as a great lead drifts above to the end. Definitely my favorite track on this album. The Littlest Frenchman is another track with a similar feeling but a little faster and angular at points.

This is quite enjoyable, surprising and memorable. It sounds like the guys had a lot of fun with this and when watching them perform I got that impression as well.

Highly recommended for those who want to hear how versatile the boys from Thou can be outside of their doom adventures. This release can be bought, streamed and downloaded (for $5) from their bandcamp page. It has been pressed on cd but I believe it's only sold at shows and is limited to 100 copies, and it will eventually be re-pressed in 12" format as a split with another Baton Rouge act known as Small Bones at some point in the future.

DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)
DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)

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