Brooklyn’s Babies might’ve begun as the quiet side project of Vivian Girls’ Cassie Ramone and Woods’ Kevin Morby, but it has since proved otherwise. Having recently released the follow-up album to 2011’s self-titled debut, the band has a new release, Our House On The Hill, that has growth written all over it. Between Morby’s folksy background and Ramone’s garage roots, Our House On The Hill finally taps into that natural mixture between the two.
Our House On The Hill still possesses that messy, unkempt sound that the Babies just can’t shake (and shouldn’t, for that matter), but there are several tracks that may make your ears perk up out of the sheer fact that there is a bit of a well-executed, melodic structure. A bit folkier, a bit twangier at times, Morby’s voice dominates the majority of tracks on the album, with Ramone often offering energetic background harmonies (yes, harmonies). The cleaner, fast-paced nature of many of the songs makes for a fun listen, but when Ramone takes the reins on songs like “Baby,” a hint of the unstructured shines through—especially in her voice—where her off-pitch wailing leaves the listener with something quite endearing.
Our House On The Hill is a platform for songs about heartbreak and adventure—roadtrip music, if you will. Starting things off with quick beats coming from “Alligator,” “Slow Walking” and “Mess Me Around,” the tone quickly changes mid-record with the Spoon-like “Get Lost.” “Moonlight Mile” seems to be the breakout single, a catchy, almost familiar tune with tight, clean instrumentals and Morby’s harmonic folk sound, which is followed up by a few more tracks with similar qualities (“See The Country” and “That Boy”). Things finally drop off, mellow out and unwind toward the end with Ramone’s ooohs layered underneath Morby’s tired, emotional storytelling and pained vocals on the final track, “Wandering.”
It’s safe to say that the Babies, yes, grew up a bit on this record. The sound is more refined without completely losing what many listeners initially loved about the band: its natural and unstructured approach.