Wichita Recording, 2015. Total Babes: https://www.facebook.com/totalbabes
Dance to this. Shake your rear. Bop your head. At least keep time with your foot or hand, or other appendage if you can’t otherwise move. Do something for this extra fine band and their new EP. Well, maybe it’s an EP. Eight tracks isn’t a full album unless they’re all like, seven minutes long, and nothing clocks over five minutes here. It doesn’t matter because the music is really great, except that there should be more of it.
Total Babes was started by Christopher Brown and Jayson Gerycz in Medina back in 2010, apparently as a side project that has a life of its own. And after all, somebody has to start bands in Medina. Brown was (is?) in Swindella, Gerycz is the drummer for Cloud Nothings (which Baldi fronts), Nathan Ward is from Smooth Brain, and John Elliott was in Emeralds. Wow, talk about cross-pollination. The music is power pop/punk with synthesizers and jangly guitars and distortion, or something like that, with hints (are we wine-tasting?) of Emeralds, Cloud Nothings, R.E.M., and probably other stuff if you listen hard enough. Nearly everything is high energy and fun, with speeds ranging from pretty fast to breakneck. Harmonies hit just the right spots (who’s singing harmony?) for garage rock (check “Circling” and “Repeat Gold”). The guitar is cool, the drums dominate (no surprise), and it all comes together. I like the fact that almost nothing here is a love song. Thank you! “Sunny Side” is a piano track, sort of like Jefferson Airplane doing “Embryonic Journey,” but sounding nothing like it. “Repeat Gold” is as close to a ballad as it gets, and it’s a catchy tune with a nice vibe.
Since I have the advantage of seeing other people’s reviews of the album (Metacritic shows eight), I can critique those too. Sorry, Consequence of Sound, but this rates higher than a C+, and isn’t just Cloud Nothings lite. DIY and the 405 are closer to my opinion, and therefore entirely reasonable. We just missed their concert at the Happy Dog, but they’ll probably pop up somewhere. In the meantime, groove to this.
Personnel: Christopher Brown (guitar, vocals, bass, piano), Jayson Gerycz (drums), Nathan Ward (bass (sometimes), John Elliott (synthesizers), Dylan Baldi (saxophone on track 4, and maybe some vocals).
Tracks: Blurred Time, Heydays, Bone Dry Eyes, Circling, We’ll Come Around, Sunny Side, Repeat Gold, Can I Turn You On.