23 June 2008
Made Out Of Babies - The Ruiner
I had seen the name Made Out Of Babies floating around on show listings for some time, but I hadn't given much thought into looking into them at all until recently. A few days back I read a rather promising interview/review of their latest record (it officially drops tomorrow, 6/24), The Ruiner. The band members' pedigree plus the fact their earlier work was released by Neurot intrigued me, so I was pleased to find that my roommate had a promo copy.
Beyond being pleased by the relative ease with which I landed the album, I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard. Let's not kid ourselves, Made Out Of Babies is a less-than-stellar band name, but whatever, it works for them and they seem to be doing just fine with it (there are worse names, to be sure). The review that I had read only vaguely hinted at the music imprinted in those tiny grooves, so all I knew to expect was female vocals from a band that, to paraphrase, jelled through a shared love of The Jesus Lizard. Now I must say that this record hardly sounds at all like that band (though early records may, I haven't gotten those yet), but it is dark, it has a distinct AmRep feel to it and it definitely rocks. Really, the first notable comparison I made was with heavier, later Milemarker sans-dance beats. The low end here is quite prominent with a chunkier bass distortion that contrasts perfectly with the flowing nature of the bass lines. The drums complement the bass as well, with constant pummelling rhythms emanating from some primal urge. As far as the rhythm section goes, the cavepeople cover art makes complete sense. I wouldn't immediately say the same for the guitars, but on second thought they are properly buzzed and melted together into a grafittoed wall, maybe early cave art; you can make out the details, however primitive at points, and the riffs are solid as rock.
What really ties the room together, however, are the vocals. I don't mean to harp on the fact that they're, "ooh, how novel, female vocals on a heavy record!" Singer Julie Christmas has the haunting voice of some childlike demon you don't want to encounter on your own. Hers is the siren voice that lured ancient sailors to their last breaths. Strong presence overall and a featherlight touch when necessity beckons, she really makes this band, because I can't imagine how male vocals could work with this material and really do it justice. She is the perfect counterweight to the leaden machine behind her. A really well engineered and produced record that should easily make it onto "top album" lists at the end of this year.