Baby Eagle – [Album]

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Ever been present and able to recognize when you're witnessing an exceptional moment? It's not always easy to do because, nine times out of ten, you're usually doing nine other things at the same time so you're only able to catch it peripherally but, when it happens in plain view, the sensation can be elating; it's as if everything fell into place in an almost charmed way and the resulting experience is both mesmerizing and fantastic. Such is exactly the sort of sensation that comes over listeners the moment “Day of our Departing” opens Dog Weather, Baby Eagle's third album. Prior to this point, Baby Eagle had basically been the private project of Constantines guitarist Steven Lambke and he'd used it to make small, simple songs (for the most part) all on his own – but that isn't the case here. For Dog Weather, the guitarist comes backed by a full band that includes Attack In Black singer/guitarist (and You've Changed Records co-founder) Daniel Romano, Shotgun Jimmie, David Trnaman and Colleen Collins (of Construction And Deconstruction) and the difference in sound and style between Dog Weather and both of the Baby Eagle records that preceded it is akin to the difference between night and day. Where previous Baby Eagle records felt like very private affairs in their meek and modest late-night vibes, Dog Weather is very obviously a very public outing as the rockist intentions of the album shine through, unmistakably.

From the very beginning of “Day of our Departing,” Baby Eagle hits the guitar rock nail squarely on the head as, with rock solid electric guitars, loose arrangements and a relaxed air to the performance, Dog Weather recalls the glory of Neil Young and Crazy Horse or a post-Velvets Lou Reed in their respective prime and just lets it all rip rather than hesitating pulling a punch. Here, while Lambke still isn't projecting his vocals as much as he could, there is a confidence and just a bit of swagger to the singer's methodology as he half-speaks lines line, “You said we could begin again/that only children play with stones” and lets listeners fill in the heroics themselves as he tosses off one of the scruffiest anti-solos since Neil Young told audiences which note was for them. The same kind of warmth and lived in feeling is intoxicating and nerves will loosen as the song goes, it's almost guaranteed.

“Day of our Departing” sets most of the precedents for the rest of the record, but that doesn't mean the thirteen songs which follow it only amount to an extended denouement. In fact, the best way to describe songs like “Haybale Song,” “Dog Failure,” “Thistle In Bloom” and “Me Vs. The Devil” is that, by combining the shadows of Neil Young and Lou Reed with just a hair of Cowboy Junkies (it's hardest to miss in “Dog Failure”) and a lot of indie rock sensibility, what Baby Eagle confidently cobbles together amounts to a new sort of good, old fashioned and homegrown classic rock epic. It really does sound like a stomping rock record, but also blessedly unpolished and very down to earth with a candor and unstated muscle that can (and will) make listeners weak in the knees. After two previous releases that don't really have a shred of the force that Dog Weather does, it's a safe bet that no one was expecting something like this from Steven Lambke but doesn't mean it will leave anyone with a reason to complain. Here's hoping that Dog Weather is the beginning of a trend for Baby Eagle.



Baby Eagle – “Day of our Departing” – Dog Weather


Dog Weather
comes out August 24, 2010 on You've Changed Records. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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