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The Babies

Our House on the Hill

> > Nov 13 2012

The Babies - Our House on the Hill
By Ian GormelyDespite their hectic day job schedules, Vivian Girls' Cassie Ramone and Woods' Kevin Morby found time to once again knock out a second album as the Babies. On Our House on the Hill, the songs sound like they were written a few days before, instead of the day-of, which is to say the arrangements sound more thought-out and the hooks more pronounced, without losing the immediacy of their self-titled debut. They've also crawled up a couple notches on the fidelity scale. "Get Lost" sounds absolutely huge compared to previous efforts; it's jangly guitars create a mountain of lo-fi sound as Morby sings, "I want to get high with you." Lyrically, the quartet stick with what they know — boys, girls, relationship strife and boredom — but manage to put new spins on familiar tropes. "Mean" is a surprising acoustic detour (there are two others, but both lack the intimacy of "Mean") that sounds more like a '60s Dylan-wannabe than the '90s slacker rock that forms much of the band's backbone. Yet it's an album highlight, thanks to Ramone's tasteful backing vocals in the chorus and a great sax solo. Your enjoyment of the Babies will depend on your tolerance for Brooklyn, NY's brand of lo-fi jangle pop, but anyone already on board will find much to love about Our House on the Hill. Freed from the confines of their regular gigs, Morby and Ramone go for broke, creating a record with hooks that just won't quit.
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What is with this obsession of giving numerical ratings to albums? I used to like Exclaim for NOT doing that. Do we really have to make musicians feel like they're still in school?
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