Despite the popularity of UK pop punk in recent times, breakthrough UK emo bands have been quite hard to come by. Only Basement and Moose Blood have managed to really carve out a name for themselves as a British entry in a genre that seems to be defined by the twinkly guitars of the American Midwest, and even then they did so with a very different sound to their American contemporaries. With their debut EP The Days Have Gotten Brighter, new entries into the UK emo scene Baby Names show that Americans aren’t the only ones who can make twinkly emo, and they do it in style.
The first thing I have to say about this EP is that the vocals can be a little quiet at times, especially in the first track “North Hill”. I have to get this minor criticism out of the way at the beginning because it is honestly the only fault I can find in the EP, and nothing that can’t be fixed in future releases. Other than that, Baby Names have produced an EP with a sound that very few bands in the UK currently offer, mixing the technicality of Tiny Moving Parts with lyrics that are reminiscent of equal parts Mom Jeans and Moose Blood. Right from the opening riff of “North Hill”, Baby Names establish their technicality, which is especially impressive given that the band is only a two piece currently. The drawling, melancholy vocals and twinkly guitar of Aidan Coull are complemented perfectly by Kieran Alexander’s cymbal heavy drumming that seems to fill all the right spaces between the guitar lines, whilst the cymbals almost accent the high notes. Every song seems to have at least one memorable guitar riff and accompanying drum line, which really speaks volumes of the musical ability of the two members of Baby Names.
My favourite moment on the EP has to be, despite the brilliance of the music itself, the little excerpt from Always Sunny In Philadelphia that begins the song “You Still Grab Me Sometimes.” Similarly to the little Bob’s Burgers quote in Edward 40 Hands by Mom Jeans, this little bit of humour, whilst seeming insignificant at first, almost seems to offset the otherwise more melancholy lyrics of the album, as the yelled vocals in the chorus say “I lied to myself, told myself that you hated me,” whilst another personal lyrical favourite from the album is the line “I could drown my sorrows in cheap wine from Sainsburys,” in the first track. They lyric stay within the confines of the genre but the band lets you know every now and again that they had a lot of fun making this release.
The third and final song on the EP, “Till We Can’t Sleep”, holds my favourite actual musical moment on the EP however. Again, the track begins with a beautiful guitar line, before the drums and vocals kick in. This all builds towards the finale of the song and the EP, as first a vocal harmony and then gang vocals shout lyrics that wouldn’t look out of place in a Moose Blood song: “I missed you mate, meant to tell you that for days, we’ll drink coffee like we did in summer till we can’t sleep.” With help on the gang vocals provided by George Miller from Pet Library (Another fantastic UK emo band that you can check out here), these lyrics made my spine tingle a little the first time I heard them in the outro of this song.
With only three songs, The Days Have Gotten Brighter annoyed me in the best possible of ways, as all I wanted was more to listen to. There is a dearth of UK emo bands in the mainstream currently, but Baby Names, along with many other smaller UK emo bands, show that there are plenty to be discovered. All I can hope is that the UK alternative scene takes notice of these bands, because there is too much untapped talent in the scene to be wasted.
Listen to The Days Have Gotten Brighter here:
Words By Josef Smith
Featured Image taken from the album artwork, created by Aidan Coull