My heart is a happy one knowing that up and coming bands from New Mexico not only appreciate the sound of vinyl, but the look of a color-pressed one. Hailing from Albuquerque, Sad Baby Wolf presents “Electronic Sounds”, their first album [independently] released– and wouldn’t you guess it, my first album that closely resembles a deep lavender jawbreaker.
If you were present last fall when The Shins played for their beloved New Mexicans, you more than likely caught Sad Baby Wolf opening for them and for Washed Out. I would say this was fitting, especially since Sad Baby Wolf’s Marty Crandall and Neal Langford are actually Shin vets. Teaming up with Jason Ward, Sean McCullough and Crandall’s younger brother, Maury, the five-piece successfully brings to the table an album that would have overall been perfectly played along with a popular 90’s teen-heartthrob film.
The album starts on a more somber note with “Bridges”, a slow-paced rendition about a potentially failing relationship. The vocals alone bring about the subdued mood; one could picture this song being played over a montage of the sad, bickering boyfriend and girlfriend. (Perhaps in said 90’s film)
“Electric Sounds” follows suit with the stride of song, however the guitar is refreshing, especially when nearly on its own. It could be the vocals, but I can’t help but be reminded of Kings of Leon when listening to this track.
“Waking Up” changes tempo and brings more energy to the album. It has somewhat of a summery, good-feeling appeal to it, while sprinkling in some Depeche Mode-esque vocals here and there. This would rightly play along with the scene of that sad couple’s probable reconciliation.
Side B of the album at first switches up the listening experience altogether with “The Warnings”. It has that laid back sound, heavier instrumentals, and a sense of confidence that the other songs seemed to lack. However, with “Survival Guide” there is a return to the solemn, sluggish experience that is heard through much of the album.
Wrapping ‘Electric Sounds’ up, and in impeccable style with that make believe movie, is “Sad Baby Wolf”. The song itself is describing the actual Sad Baby Wolf, which is indeed sad, but it is done with such a triumphant, happy ending vibe. The perfect tunes for that feel-good end.
This is an overall good attempt at a first album release, but if I’m being honest it is not my favorite. Sad Baby Wolf has plenty of the right stuff going on here, or the beginning of it at least, and can only go up from here if they so choose. The only real issue that I truly have with this album is that a lot of the songs sound very similar, giving the listener a limited experience. This being said, the next time they come through Albuquerque I’ll be sure to catch the show.