Baby Guts - The Kissing Disease
The Kissing Disease (Guilt Ridden Pop, 2008)
Download: Baby Guts - "Drag"
Even though it's Laura Larson, the larynx-shredding singer of punk trio Baby Guts, who won Best Vocalist (Female) from City Pages Best-of poll last year, her bandmate, bassist Taylor Motari proves that he's no slouch when it comes to a scream either. His raspy, spazzcore-style vocals help stamp the more raucous gunshots of punk adrenaline like "Hampster Bite and "Shark Teeth" (something about this dude and animals) with a visceral snarl.
Those are but two examples of the kind of Riot-Grrl informed punk rawk that can be found on The Kissing Disease, the band's second full-length album. Most of the songs on Disease fall into two categories. There's the short, spastic bursts of energy and mayhem that characterized most classic hardcore bands; and the slightly longer, more melodic, but still brief, tracks that skew closer to punk influences both vintage ("Asbestos/Esophagus" is Milo's college sweetheart and also nicks the chord progression to "Sonic Reducer") and contemporary ("Meat & Gesture" has a sludge-slow breakdown common in most modern-day hardcore bands). There are, of course, songs that successfully split the difference ("Tiny Cuts", an early album highlight) and a feedback-laden slow-crawl of a segue track ("Medusa, Stomach Acid, and Brain Cancer").
Most of the blistering tracks at the beginning ofThe Kissing Disease have a certain visceral appeal (i.e., they rock hard), but when so many songs of a similar fast-placed, fuzz-heavy ilk ("Firetruck Vagina", "Bedsheets" "Rum & Coke"), they tend to blend into one big outburst. Baby Guts are better when they find a nice, big riff for their formidable rhythm section to sink their teeth into. "Dispelled" and "Drag", two awesome tracks, succeed greatly because the slower tempos allow the Guts to explore a greater depth of emotion and musical dynamics.
"Dispelled", a cover originally done by Hangun Man, is unexpectedly poignant, a song that goes from self-lament to anthemic burst of anger and self-triumph of the course of two-and-half-minutes; "Drag" does anything but. Baby Guts prove themselves to be quite the songwriters when they give themselves the chance to develop. Everyone loves a good thrash, and The Kissing Disease has many. But it's the more fully-formed songs that have true staying power. Based on the contents of Disease, listeners can hope that the more, varied, melodic songs take prevalence in future releases.
Buy The Kissing Disease here.
Baby Guts MySpace Page