Baby Brave : King Horse / Tacky Birthday EPs2014 & 2015 : Drum with our Hands
Two EPs in the last two years from Wrexham's Baby Brave, who are Emmi Manteau (Guitar/Vocals), Steve Nicholls (Guitar), Mike Jones (Drums), and Siâno (Bass). Both have a sound that references classic 80s / 90s indie bands such as Elastica and The Primitives, but also looks back to the pop sensibilities of the sixties and early 80s new wave, and is in places darker and more experimental. Both are also just exceptional; a perfect match of instantly memorable songs, energetically and brilliantly played, with incisive lyrics and Emmi Manteau's distinctive, vivacious singing voice.
From 2014 the first of the pair, King Horse, opens with the bright sparkle of Oyonnax, then follows up with the choppy Colours, which with its prominent bass line and noisy guitar would have nestled perfectly on the first (and superb) Elastica album. Jitters (with its adept accompanying video) is a brilliant, effervescent pop love song. In absolute contrast Wrists closes this set with a dark, gothic atmosphere of piano, drum and distant voice; soon weighted with a repeating, sunless riff.
Released in November 2015 Tacky Birthday starts with the lyrical twisting knife of Alone in Tokyo (you can't argue with a chorus with the bitterly repeated line 'I will ruin your quiet life'), then Rock Paper Scissors effectively sets happy clean pop verses against the fuzzed, guitar noised doubt of the chorus. Shinichi Kudo rocks with growling, angry guitar from with start, with a magnificently emoted refrain 'Tell me what would you do, if you discovered your lover is in love with another?'. Traxx is much more uplifting, back to pure indie elegance, but the best is saved for last as Mimic my Shins has a garage feel and swirls along stunningly in its pure exuberance.
Music this good and complete is rare. In an alternate world the standout songs (Oyonnax/Jitters/Mimic my Shins) from the EPs would have already grazed the national consciousness; just buy them.