Weeks before the quarantine, babybaby_explores were already running wild in the kitchen. In a split-screen YouTube session from February 2020, the avant-pop trio perform “Duck Song” in a home in Rhode Island. As his bandmates scratch out an eerie, cyclical rhythm on drum machine and guitar, frontman Lids B-Day stares dead-eyed and delivers frantic vignettes about throwing bread at ducks. During the chorus, Lids performs an arm choreography resembling a frail vampire attempting the “Macarena”. Then, as the song climaxes, they grab some Wonder Bread from a tall cabinet, swallow a mouthful, and throw the rest into the camera.
This clip is a litmus test of whether you’ll find babybaby_explores’ tease mode irresistible or intolerable. It also sums up the group’s knack for transforming the mundane into a subject of weird wonder, just as they manage to turn a drab kitchen into a den of DIY madness. Even the title of her new album is a monument to mundanity: “food near me” and “weather tomorrow” are among the most searched phrases on Google, while her songs chew through the daily debris of modern life and spit out humor. distorted and absurd repetition.
Composed of three high school best friends from a suburb of Providence, babybaby_explores began as a “pseudo research concept project.” As they’ve grown into a proper band, you can glean a lot about their aesthetic from the company they keep: They’ve recently toured with Lightning Bolt and signed to a label launched by Liars’ Angus Andrew. Their music falls somewhere between the subversive, no-frills skronk of Bush Tetras and the chatty, lo-fi minimalism of Sneaks. Songs like “New Band” and “Anthem” are playful and repetitive, forging a bastardized strain of synth-pop out of rhythms that emerge from a Boss DR-670 Dr. Rhythm drum machine, which Gabe CD plays on almost every tracks. The third player, Sam MH, specializes in swampy guitar tones that resemble a surf-rock record played at the wrong speed.
On their previous release, the 2019 EP Baby;Baby: explore the reasons why that gum is still on the sidewalk, the Kraftwerk-on-speed synth lines took the lead, while Lids’ vocals sank further into the mix or distorted beyond comprehension. In Food near me, weather tomorrowThe group’s first proper album, the singer excels as a vocalist, reveling in a zany theatrics that is unnerving and often hilarious. On “Carolyn,” they evoke the pursed-lipped encores of Mark Mothersbaugh exclaiming, “I love you/I miss you/Let’s Facetime soon!” over and over until it becomes insignificant. The thrillingly twisted “Twiddle” dramatizes the inner monologue of someone who has been cornered by a loud talker at a party: “You, you, you, you / Talk talk talk talk / So a lot!The eyelids fan, giving each syllable its own tinge of frustration.