The Babies The Babies
The two primary members of The Babies are separated by 20 years—not in age, but in inspiration. As the bassist of Woods, Kevin Morby plays shambling, ’60s-influenced rock; as the guitarist of Vivian Girls, Cassie Ramone makes retro-C86 fuzz-pop. Rather than split that difference, though, they ditch the way-back machine on The Babies, the eponymous debut album by the songwriting duo’s aptly playful side project. As echo-soaked and sweetly wistful as fellow boy-girl groups like Tennis and Best Coast, The Babies punch up the formula by injecting a healthy dose of broken strings and skinned-knee recklessness. Passing vocals back and forth as if the mic were an ice-cream cone, Morby and Ramone turn songs like “Personality” and “Meet Me In The City” into punk-rock breakfast-cereal jingles; later, on “Breakin’ The Law,” the twosome duet like a treehouse Bonnie and Clyde. As with many similarly off-the-cuff projects, The Babies aren’t as good as its parent bands. But that doesn’t diminish the irony that these two backward-glancing musicians have wound up—perhaps by accident—making an album that inches toward timelessness.