August 11, 2008


label: The End Records
rating: ****

Not to exclaim my own bias, but I was palpably excited to receive the new Made out of Babies' record The Ruiner. Their previous two releases, while mini-masterpieces of churning art-metal that were impossibly engaging and well, something different, never felt as focused and purposeful as this.

Apparently those two albums were just a warm-up for what was to be delivered inside The Ruiner: a band focusing their sound and approach into a razor-sharp sonic attack. This album is an artful, intelligent and deliberately calibrated affair from start to finish. The entire record displays a clear feeling of intent with a precise goal in mind. There are equal measures restraint and bombast that sound perfectly timed and clearly mapped out for maximum effect.

From the opening salvo of "Cooker" which starts with a wall of processed sound that twists and explodes into a charging and unsettling bombast to the powerful restraint and release of "Buffalo" the whole album exhibits an uncanny feeling of cohesion that seems all too rare. Standout track "Bunny Boots" is another grower that expands its sound with the kind of force and purpose that only a band with a clear agenda can produce.

I could spend the entire review waxing eloquent about lead singer Julie's voice, but let's just say it's powerful - and there's nothing else quite like it. Over the course of a single song it grows from a twilight whisper into a ragged howl and often several modes in between, giving each track her distinctive stamp.

In a world of interchangeable and disposable music, Made Out Of Babies' The Ruiner is the kind of kick-in-the-throat reminder that art isn't dead and there's still music to be excited about. "Grower" is a cliched term, but the nuance found within this album has me finding and being challenged by new moments after more spins than I can count.

If nothing else, Made out of Babies are hard to stick a single, all-encompassing tag onto. Let's just say it's good, damn good.
CarlaJarboezulich fronting NeurIsiSwans??? Sure thang.

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