Acid Tongue’s debut full length Babies drops October 13th, and it’s one for the books. Comprised of 11 tracks – including “Intro (Completely Useless Activity)”, which is a gut buster if you have a sense of humor – the undeniable talents of Guy Keltner (vocals, lead guitar, bass, acoustic guitar) and Ian Cunningham (drums, production) – with help on this recording from Daniel O’Neil (drums, percussion), Jacob Rose (bass), Jason Cairati (keyboards), James Squires (drums, piano, bass), Maiah Manser (backing vocals), and Thomas Fredrickson (bass) – shine through on the album in its entirety, edging us into a laid back existence.
“Humpty Dumpty” has a 60s feel to it, defined by the reverb-filled vocals and – if we’re being completely honest – the striking tambourine. It’s a track that simultaneously makes us want to sway our hips amongst a kaleidoscope of colors and also pick up percussion of really any sort. “If I Really Loved Her” is a beautiful testament to love, as Keltner elaborates: “I was in the process of uprooting my life in Seattle and moving to Brooklyn. I lost my job, I lost a lot of my friends, and I was flat broke. I’m still flat broke. But I was with someone who believed in what I was doing and stuck it out with me during a really difficult period of my life.” It slowly grooves into “Dive”, which slows down to a crawl in the intro before exploding a glittering world of crashing cymbals. “Accidental Drug Use” is one of our favorite tracks from the album, though this could be entirely due to crazy random happenstance if we’re being completely honest. The title has no bearing on our favoritism, and had it not been for the unmistakable B-52’s twinge to the track we may not have taken another listen. But there’s just enough staccato edge to the vocals to make it a standout amongst its peers, and a hard track to follow.
But Acid Tongue does follow it, and they do it with flare. Established with the steady beat of a drum, “Something In The Water” coaxes us into a spirited frenzy, as we imagine ourselves yelling the lyrics back at Acid Tongue live in concert. There is no doubt that this song would jive well with a totally beach bum-worthy crowd. And while “Friend Like You” maintains a similar tempo for the majority of the track, it begins slow and becomes nothing less than a head banger toward the end as it explodes into a cacophony of sound.
Approaching the eighth track “Talking In Your Sleep”, we’re inclined to question how this wasn’t included as a single, as its lyrics are entirely too relatable and the instrumentals are some the most adrenaline-inducing and impressionable of Babies. “Whatever Happened” lends whirring guitars that provoke the notion that much of Babies‘ influence lies in 60s and 70s psych rock. And while “Maybe Tomorrow” is set at a jaunting, easy pace – Does anything scream “chill” more than whistling in a song? – the lyrics bring to mind the idea that you don’t get second chances, as lines like “maybe tomorrow / I’ll take less chances” work to inspire and coax the listener out of their shell.
But it’s last track “Why Can’t You Just Lie To Me” that really strikes a chord with its listener. Dark vocals, dismal lyrics, and desperate pleas for honesty crooned for a significant other (“Sometimes the truth feels like a cancer / I wish you’d tell me that I’m fine”) bring up a melancholic feel with more of a cliffhanger ending, as the song serves as a reminder to move forward with the truth. (Regardless of how “easy” it feels at the time.)