Listen Up: Wednesday, January 16, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Baboon

Something Good is Going to Happen to You (Last Beat Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

These Dentonites, together continuously for more than a decade, have managed, incredibly, to outlast most of their contemporaries among local indie-rock heavies — the Toadies, the Grand Street Cryers, Spot, Course of Empire. And they’ve come a long, lonnnng way from the abrasive, post-industrial punk of 1997’s Face Down in Turpentine.

The first couple of times I listened to Baboon’s latest, Something Good is Going to Happen to You, I thought, “Oh, Christ. Can’t we have a moratorium on indie-rock bands that sound like Radiohead?” Then I tried turning it way up — the better to hear the thick, heavy guitar blast from Michael Rudnicki’s arsenal of axes — and it worked better. Producer John Congleton (pAper chAse, Lucy Loves Schroeder, 90 Day Men) has done his usual yeoman service.

Sure, there’s still a lot of Britpop in the mix, starting with all those electronic textures and Andrew Huffstetler’s melodramatic vocals. He leaves the trombone at home this time, though, perhaps not wanting to be mistaken for, uh, Cake or something. The ’80s-as-nostalgia having arrived in full effect, there are even places where this disc reminds me of retro stuff like the Cars or the Ultravox of “I Want to Be a Machine” fame.

The band crashes and thumps nicely, particularly the muscular rhythm section of drummer Steven Barrett and bassist Mark Hughes. What really makes this work, though, is the songcraft, with lotsa minor and diminished chords turning up in unexpected places amid the anthemic rockarama. There are a few surprises here, too, like “Too Handsome to Die,” a brief acoustic interval with something that sounds like an oboe and a harmonium, or the faux-rockabilly intro to “Leave Me Be.” You can even forgive ’em for including a song (“Evil”) that previously appeared on 2001’s live opus, A Bum Note and a Bead of Sweat.


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