When a new band comes along, there is almost a giddiness about them that is derived from any number of things. Perhaps it’s because they’ve finally done enough of the grunt work to get noticed by ink-stained wretches or, and more importantly, by label people. Maybe it’s because they’ve also realized that they can do play in a band for a foreseeable period of time without worrying about rent or food. It could also be that they’re basically industry virgins, still eager to do 10 to 12 phone interviews a day, replying to the same questions, anything to help get the word out.
The Beautiful New Born Children are one of those new, giddy bands now. And with a label like the highly esteemed Domino behind them, they have a shot at really making it. Now, the band’s name shouldn’t be taken to mean they’re some sort of trippy, psychedelic Polyphonic Spree theatrical mimics. Not by a long shot. The Beautiful New Born Children want you to take notice that they have a gritty garage rock feeling and, with the exception of some monkeys from the arctic, they do it as good as anyone.
The album, which only comes in at nine songs, just passes the bar of 20 minutes, so while it’s not exactly a full-length album in most respects, it packs as much energy, pizzazz, and sizzle as Is This It?, with the opener “Do the Do” having that same primal, life-affirming feel as “The Modern Age”. The Beautiful New Born Children even snip a line from Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” without blinking an eyelash. The track seems to come across briefly as only half-realized, morphing into a buzz-filled howl of feedback and distortion before cutting itself short less than 100 seconds later. While it is always better to quit while one is ahead, this song is so far superior to any of its competition that another minute or even half-minute would not diminish the fantastic effort.
From there, the band slows things down a hair with “Paper Mill”, another fun-filled, heavenly hook-filled rocker that isn’t quite as manic but just as pristine. Think of The Libertines before Doherty’s crap hit the fan and you would get the gist of what they’re doing on this nugget. Again, a lovely stroke of Strokesque rock with the lead singer, who is also part of electro-synth group Schneider TM, yelping away on the chorus. “I would like to show them how to have a good time / I would like to show them how to boogie down” goes the lyric before, they, er, begin to boogie down.
“A Good Dose” seems to pick up right where “Do the Do” left off. It’s another rapid, hellish but gorgeous romp that takes no prisoners as the listener’s knee goes gonzo on the air kick drum pedal. The ebb and flow of the record continues with a slightly softer pop garage rocker “I Do Too” that plods along and rides the hell out of the hook from top to bottom. Once again, it leaves you wanting more after less than two minutes.
Only two of the nine songs last longer than three minutes, so each song and their sum are short but very, very sweet. “Left, Right, Forward” is another rave up that revisits the first and third tracks in terms of pace and manic feeling. It’s primitive but, when pulled off this well, is so tasteful it’s not funny. So don’t laugh! The Beautiful New Born Children break tradition with another high-octane attempt dubbed “Hey Heart Breaker”, not taming the album’s tone with a mid-tempo polished ditty but going for the dirty, fuzzy, buzzy guitar riffs. The consistency of the record and The Beautiful New Born Children’s intensity is what sells this album. “I’m okay and I don’t really give a f—- about what you say” the lead singer hollers on “Ok, Allright, Fine”. And you get the impression that they really don’t care. “Up And Down And Round And Round” is the dirtiest sounding of the lot but it’s also the closest thing to “Lust For Life” I’ve heard in ages. This is how rock is supposed to sound like at its core, but rarely has a band nailed it so friggin’ hard on the head!
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// Notes from the Road
"Co-presented by the World Music Institute, the 92Y hosted a rare and mesmerizing performance from India's violin virtuoso L. Subramaniam.READ the article