It’s funny how certain things just remind you of the summer. The smell of barbeque in the air when driving into you neighborhood, over-sized sun glasses, the feeling of air condition, sunblock, and going to your local theater to see one of the many tent pole movies. Along with all of that, sounds are just as important. We all have our albums or playlists that we crank up during the summer, and the album from Baby Shakes is just that; the sound of summer. It’s the best word I could come up with that describes the album. This group of 3 girls (and a guy) knew exactly what they were doing when they formed in 2006.
Starry Eyes is a quick, clean album that captures all of the fun things we love about not only summertime, but good old fashioned power-pop that has been missing in the scene for the past 20 years or so. Crunchy guitars, growling bass, screeching vocals and layers of harmony, and simplistic lyrics that are practically beg you to sing along (preferably in your car with friends, with windows down, heading to your favorite summer locations) As simple the ingredients that make up Baby Shakes there is never any point where the band becomes pretentious or preachy like how some modern punk bands have become.
The lead single Summer Song represents every single thing the band is about, from pop melody, simple punk rock beat every bit of the energy that you would come to expect from an independent pop-punk band from New York. The devil-may-care attitude of The Ramones, the early 60s meets glam rock swagger of The New York Dolls, as well as the dangerous rawness of The Stooges. A combination that could win over any fan of punk garage rock. My only gripe with the record would be the production. Everything has a raw, played-live in the studio sound, which is completely fine for some of the sloppier acts out there, but these songs are too good to sound like a live demo. Perhaps it was a decision from the start, to appeal to older punk listeners who can’t be bothered with over-produced pop punk that’s dominating the airwaves. (isn’t it sad that mainstream radio counts 5 Seconds of Summer punk?) It’s a minor gripe, but I think it has more to do with the direction the band wanted to go, not a cheap way out.
Over all Starry Eyes is the perfect example of what power pop should be, fun songs with harmonies and guitar riffs. They go above and beyond in delivering that. So much so, I listened to the entire record twice in a row and didn’t get bored once! Just about every song puts out the same fun loving, tongue in cheek vibe that makes it the third time through just as enjoyable as the first! If you like just one song on this album, you will like them all. No nonsense punk-power-pop at it’s finest! If you are bored with the mainstream punk scene as much as I am, this record could very well be the shot in the arm you are looking for!
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