Emo is a corpse in the UK alternative scene at the moment. While Moose Blood purport that ’emo is a gang’, it’s hard for me to make the case that their music embodies the spirit, the musicality, and possibly even the ethics of the increasingly loose term of ’emo’. Beyond them, I cannot think of many bands in the public eye that even call themselves an emo band, let alone play music that resembles the often misinterpreted genre. It’s good to know, however, that some emerging bands like Baby Names, an emo two piece based in Leeds, are trying to bring the brand of twinkly emo made famous in the American Midwest across the pond.
After releasing their debut EP The Days Have Gotten Brighter (which you can check out at the bottom of this review), I was excited to hear what was to come next from Baby Names, and while I may be slightly disappointed that their new release is only a two track, entitled Stones Unturned, the two tracks that are present make up for the succinctness of the release. More polished than their past release, yet perhaps paradoxically also more raw, Stones Unturned may prove to be a stepping stone to even bigger things for Baby Names.
The first track, Situational, opens with a riff that I have been humming to myself for days. With a catchy rhythm and a singalong mood, Baby Names could be the UK’s answer to Mom Jeans on this track. It bounces up and down alongside raw, sometimes shouted vocals with that classic emo dichotomy between melancholic lyrics and a more upbeat sound. Technically speaking, the guitar work and drumming on this track, as with their other work, is on par with their Midwestern contemporaries, and the vocals contain so much emotion and such an enthusiasm for what they do that the lyrics demand singing along.
The second track, Kandinsky, conveys a very different mood to Situational, opening with the lyrics “This isn’t what I wanted” shouted over driving guitar and cymbals. Decidedly darker and angrier in tone, the track shows a range in what Baby Names can do. They can write songs to vent your emotions to just as well as they can write songs you want to hold your beer up and sing along to. This is a versatility that will serve them well in the future. Too many emo bands will release essentially the same album over and over again or, conversely, change their sound entirely and alienate their fanbases. Baby Names can switch seamlessly between different tones within their genre, keeping fans on their toes, but not taking them too far out of their comfort zone.
Stones Unturned releases tomorrow, November 3rd, on the band’s newly founded indie record label, Big Boy Records, who I highly encourage you to check out. This piece will be updated with a link to Stones Unturned tomorrow but for now listen to Baby Names’ debut EP The Days Have Gotten Brighter here:
Words by Josef Smith