Good major label debut
Sean M. Kelly | Portland, Oregon United States | 06/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In comparison to the crop of Boston based bands from the mid 80's that rode the "alternative/college radio" wave to success- Dinosaur Jr., Pixies, Throwing Muses, and the Lemonheads- the Blake Babies can, and do, get easily lost in the shuffle; this despite bassist/vocalist Juliana Hatfield's alleged affair with Lemonhead Evan Dando, who briefly was in the band as bassist.Hatfield, with guitarist/vocalist John Strohm, and drummer/vocalist Freda Boner, came up with quality post-mod pop songs that had some bite and muscle to them. Hatfield is the star factor in the band, with her unpredictable voice as its showpiece. Her range is quite unsettling, as she has a tendancy to be singing along in one range and then jumping to a high note (missing the note more often than not). This unpredictability endears her to some, makes her a villian to others- but is never dull.After the 1987 release of "Nicely, Nicely," a collection of rather collegiate tunes, including the underground favorite "Swill and the Cocaine Sluts," "Earwig" is more or less a collection of songs from the band's early days, and their 1st major label release. Lemonhead Evan Dando guests on many of the tracks (originally to have been released as an EP called "Slow Learners"), which take on a wonderfully R.E.M/Big Star-ish country twang. Other tracks are from 1988 (with another bassist), and the rest from 1989 (with Hatfield permanently entrenched on bass). The collection shows a band trying to find its own voice. The songwriting of Hatfield (mainly) and Strohm shows great promise, with Juliana's "You Don't Give Up," "Outta My Head," and "Your Way or the Highway" as highlights, as is Strohm's "Rain." A great highlight, though, is Juliana singing the classic Stooges track "Loose" (from their "Fun House" lp). The results of the lp are at moments inconsistent but nonetheless great guitar pop.While the band's next effort, the great "Sunburn," would find the group hitting its collective stride, "Earwig" is still a very enjoyable collection of songs. Strohm's jangly guitar, Boner's solid drumming, and Hatfield, made this band much better than average and a joy to (re)visit."
Viva La Blake Babies
Sean M. Kelly | 01/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blake Babies is my all time favorite band. Their sound is simple, yet entertaining. Juliana's vocals can give anyone goose bumps. Unfortunately, Juliana's works after the Blake Babies are not up to par, but this shouldn't be any reasoning as to not giving Blake Babies a go. They have a great style that anyone could fall in love with."