Indie-rock quintet Old Baby have been on a bit of a roll the last year and a half. Their debut EP Misunderstanding Human Behavior was one of the more interesting records out of Louisville in 2012, mixing steady indie-rock grooves with almost bluesy guitar decoration and Hank Williams inspired vocals. The sounds on their follow-up effort Love Hangover take these concepts to another level totally throughout the eight songs provided. If you must know, Old Baby features an impressive collection of members and ex-members of important bands like Slint, The For Carnation, Shipping News, Sapat, and Young Widows. Throw all of that shit out the window, as this band stands out on its own without reminding you of yesteryear’s best music.
Every song seems to maintain a steady groove that stays repetitive without getting stale. Plenty of synthesizer and guitar improvisation keep your attention without sounding like the band is run by five dudes from Music-Go-Round that have acquired too much gear. In other words, these tunes are solid psychedelic, indie rock songs played like you haven’t heard before.
The opening track, titled “Into The Earth” starts with a toe-tapping tom-tom beat joined with simplistic anthem riffing and would serve as perfect background music to walking away in slow motion from an exploding car. While not jumping from a detonating explosive, this record would also go well with traveling through outer space (“Young”) or/and plotting the sinister demise of your archenemy (“Love Hungry”). It is interesting to hear guitarist Evan Patterson drift more and more from his post-rock roots in Young Widows with some delicate improvisation. His familiar guitar-tone is present, just performed in a way I’m not familiar with. Jonathon Glen Wood’s vocal stylings are clearly influenced by old-time country and folk. His voice reminds me of the late legendary Waylon Jennings at times, which makes for a fresh cocktail of folk-infused indie rock. The bass and drums serve as a joint force, steady and unwavering, while providing a nice backbone for guitar and vocal craftsmanship.
How a band evolves from debut record to sophomore release is pretty telling. The songs on Love Hangover are clearly more developed and well-mapped, but don’t come across as being over-thought. I felt that on Misunderstand Human Behavior, some of the songs were a bit too reminiscent of each other, but every bit of the eight new songs are completely independent from one another. I’ve listened to this album quite a bit since receiving it in the mail a week and a half ago, and it seems I find something new I like about a particular song through every encounter. You will too, provided you buy it as soon as possible; this record is highly recommended.