Total Babes came into being in 2010 as a light shower from Cloud Nothings, when drummer Jayson Gercyz buddied up with Christopher Brown to form an outlet for pop songs which didn’t fit the noise-rock vibe of their Swindlella project.
‘Heydays’ is a lovably shambolic record, alive with buzzes and hums which conjure the very garage in which the band (presumably) cut their teeth and (possibly?) recorded their second album. The sunshine slanting through the dusty windows powers uplifting opener ‘Blurred Time’ and gives carefree closer ‘Can I Turn You On?’ its irresistible energy; both tracks are so effortlessly melodic and full of innocent momentum that it would take a heart of stone not to beat a little faster in the disarming choruses.
After the more sedate title track, in which we can really get to grips with singer Brown’s gently raucous delivery and his knack with a magnetic vocal hook the record hits a purple patch. ‘Bone Dry Eyes’ is the snotty sound of a teenage band thrashing for the first time, but set apart from the also-rans by an indelible knack for a killer melody, while on Ramones-worshipping ‘Circling’ things get grittier still with a thunderous bass and pointier edges.
By contrast, ‘We’ll Come Around’ is much easier in the verses, and absolutely sensational in the earworm chorus, demonstrating the band’s admirable songwriting talents. But delicate piano interlude ‘Sunny Side’ feels like a throwaway addition to the album – if it has to be there, it’s very good, but does it have to be there at all? Regardless, it provides a lull suggestive of a coming storm, but it is followed by the acoustic caress of ‘Repeat Gold’. Unlike the interlude this fits perfectly with the rest of the record, and by the time the drums come in we’re in full brain massage territory.
On ‘Heydays’ Total Babes have created a balanced collection of tracks which are bursting with the rambunctious energy of a band just finding its feet and propped up by a cute musicality which keeps things light, listenable and loveable. Top stuff from the Babes.
Words - Joe Ponting
'Heyday' is out now on Wichita
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