The Babies aren’t as new to the music scene as their name would imply. In fact, they’ve been called a supergroup, but to be fair, it’s hard to say that Cassie Ramone and Kevin Morby, plus two other musicians from bands you’ve probably never heard of, can earn that title.
Ramone, the lead singer of garage-pop group Vivian Girls, and Morby, the bassist from lo-fi band Woods, began their collaboration, later dubbed The Babies, while living in Brooklyn. Both had been recording, touring and gaining success with their groups and were looking for a way to play music and trade ideas without the pressure.
They couldn’t keep the music to themselves, apparently. Since 2010, The Babies have been touring across North America, and earlier this week, they released their second full-length studio album, “Our House On the Hill.”
Since their first album, which was probably a lot of fun for the musicians but not so great for the listeners, The Babies have learned to work together to make art, rather than just have a good time. They’ve cleaned up their sounds and learned to feed off each other’s strengths.
There’s less of the rustic party-in-the-trailer-park, acoustic sounds than their first album, and it’s replaced by a more classic rock sound.
Ramone’s vocals are actually stronger, more enjoyable than when paired with the other Vivian Girls. Morby isn’t doing as much of his twangy sound as he did earlier. Even when the music gets on the edge of campy, it sounds more like Edward Sharpe heading into the garage than anything else.
Ramone and Morby are trading lead on songs instead of assigning one of them to permanent backup status. Granted, Ramone does a fair share of “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” throughout many songs, and there’s one too many songs with Morby leading that edge on comic because of his mock-country vocals, but overall, the songs balance out nicely.
“Our House On the Hill” is a great album to try out. It gives a taste of Vivian Girls, Woods and what they can do together.