Baby Strange – The Make-Out Sessions EP

There was a time when brothers Noel and Liam actually spent their time crafting absorbing rock n’ roll instead of being the poster boys for insipid squabbling. Sure enough, after all their bickering and absurd claims of greatness, their music has ultimately suffered from their less than favorable approach to public relations. Now it seems the only thing worthy of note is Liam’s unibrow and how shamelessly they lampoon their own music. Oasis can never say they aren’t supporters of recycling, but in 1993 they were something of a revelation. On the edge of making headlines (the good kind) with opening slots for the likes of BMX Bandits and Saint Etienne, they displayed the sort of tetchy excitement rock n’ roll was made for. The next year, Creation released Definitely Maybe and their brows were on the way.

Baby Strange is at their 1993. And The Make-Out Sessions is compact in its distilling of rock n’ roll virtues without giving away too much of what the band has to offer. Chief songwriter Eric Deneen’s voice is brewed from the monotone trailing made famous by likes of Jagger. And as he crawls through the chorus of “If I Didn’t Know Better” with his shouts of “c’mon!” one knows this man is bred for this sort of thing. The disjointed bassline that weaves behind “Why Didn’t You Fall?” is inescapable, seemingly grasping at Deneen’s sneering howl while navigating in-and-out of melody. It sparks the smoky atmospheres and musical disenchantment that goes hand in hand with the genre. The scissor precision of “Hotel Motel” seems to lean more to the recent wave of rock revivalism but amongst the rest of the tracks more ‘90s oriented material, it bubbles over with spunk; an interesting contrast of sophistication and flair.

This EP isn’t consistent, but it shouldn’t be; it teeters on being dangerous while remaining lithe. There are fantastic instances of songwriting and Deneen is razor sharp in his swaggering delivery. Perhaps the very best it could have done was to inject the listener with the allure of possibility, the feeling of “I most probably want to listen to more” and that’s all a rock n’ roll band needs.


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