Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., Feb. 3, 2006
Militant Babies, onetime Fivehead/Golden Apples offshoot turned full-time Austin trio, inherited the impish legacy of Prescott Curlywolf, El Flaco, and the Adults, bands whose wits were every bit as sharp as their riffs, and whose songs made liberal use of both. Further indebted in sound and spirit to Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and GBV's Bee Thousand, the Babies' 15-song debut siphons those two 1994 grad-rock touchstones' smirking energy and nearly squanders it at the outset. "Follower" and "Stray" begin the album out of sync, with no memory that the first letter of GBV stands for "guided." Luckily, "Rain Delay" and "Buffalo" steer back on course by negotiating familiar rural routes. Riffs return for the fluid "Friend in Ken," vintage gold soundz that can't resist moshing to climactic steam-spewers "Minute or Two" and "So Alone." Woozy and uncertain, "3am" offers brief bloodshot respite, but "Bye" enlists a Lou Reed stand-in to boot the Babies into one final drunken studio singalong, the only way an album this unruly, delirious, and yet oddly endearing could possibly end. The inclusion of three baseball-themed songs, including a salute to "Mad Hungarian" Al Hrabosky, extends Militant Babies' rookie promise.