Published Nov 15, 2012On their second album, the excellent Our House on the Hill, jangling guitar-pop quartet the Babies took a giant step forward, but kept one foot firmly planted in their past. "The songs," we said in our album review, "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." That balance, explains fronting duo Kevin Morby (Woods) and Cassie Ramone (Vivian Girls), was the effect of simple causes: more investment of time and energy into the band.
"At first, the Babies was all pretty casual," Morby tells Exclaim! "We took it seriously, because it was our music, but now, we've taken certain steps that have made us much more serious about it. We've toured a lot more, and we went to a recording studio and worked really hard on this album.
"I think that a huge part in the organic process of becoming a better band is just playing live as much as possible. Woods just played a show with my friend in California. He was playing his first solo show, opening up for us. He was kind of unprepared, but he was like, 'I just have to do this, and I'm going to suck for a year or two, but then I'll get pretty good.' I really agree with that notion. The first band I fronted, I was very nervous about singing the songs, but you just come into your own skin. It took a year or two for me to get comfortable. Playing live is the best way to solidify your band."
Regarding the Babies, specifically, Morby proposes that they've got better "maybe just because of the fact that we play a lot more shows, we go on tour a lot. The songwriting's probably gotten stronger."
Ramone agrees: "You can only get better... [and] we're better, for sure."
As previously reported, the Babies will hit up Montreal tonight (November 15) and Toronto tomorrow (November 16), with another Canadian date scheduled for Vancouver on November 29.
But the duo have touring plans for each of their other bands, too. Morby says Woods will tour again in 2013, while Ramone asserts, "Vivian Girls are going to do a Hurricane Sandy benefit next year, which we're trying to work on right now. We'll maybe try to work on some new material, but that's pretty tentative still."
In the meantime, check out Our House on the Hill, out now on Woodsist Records, and see all Babies' tour dates here.