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The Babies: The Babies

B

The Babies

Album: The Babies
Label: Shrimper

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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.