Saturday, February 5, 2011

Album Review: Blake Babies - Earwig

Before Juliana Hatfield embarked on her solo career she sang in Boston-based Blake Babies. Their second album, released in 1989, was where she began to lay the ground work for her solo career and find her voice (yes, those girlish tones).
For those unfamiliar with Blake Babies/Juliana Hatfield, the album is a jangly, clean guitars and riffing, semi-rockers. Opener Cesspool is quite anthemic as the album goes, more riff-based than jangly. It's fairly atypical of the album, most tracks being midpaced jangly indie pop.
The quieter tracks are quite successful, sparser music allowing the songs to breathe on tracks like You Don't Give Up, showcasing John Strohm's subtle guitar skills. Evan Dando appears on this album adding bass and ropey backing vocals to jangle-rockers like Rain and Lament to great effect, while Strohm plays some great clean lead guitar parts in the midsection of Alright.
Even the cover of the Stooges' Loose turns out reasonably well, though Hatfield certainly doesn't inhabit the song like Iggy Pop does! The songs never outstay their welcome, most of them lasting no more than 3 minutes, and they would appeal to any fan of 80s indie pop.