DISC REVIEW: BABY GIRAFFE
baby giraffe (aka toronto's michael newton) has just dropped a brand new 6 song ep/album/disc, whatever you want to call it, and as usual shirk magazine is gobbling it all up. you might recall our past interview/skype date with michael, (you can read it here to get the scoop on him) and since then he managed to create an album in a week. heres your horizon was recorded in the first week of july, 2010 in his bedroom completely solo except for a few songs that received some help from michael's roommate and fellow musician michael crumpton. if you've heard baby giraffe's past work (this IS his 5th release) you would know how multi-layered all of his songs are, so to hear that he managed to get so much done, and it being done so well in so little time, is quite impressive.
it's clear to me that just before the month of july, michael was strongly stricken with a lightening bolt of inspiration; you'd have to be to create such a piece of work. the album opens up with understatement; it's a song where no vocals appear for nearly three minutes into it but the build up is intense and moody. once again, my ears were filled with that staple baby giraffe sound where the vocals are incredibly reverbed and masculine. safewords then comes after with a very strong, nine-inch-nails-esque drum line; if you thought it was hard to understand the lyrics before, they're a lot harder to compute in this song due to newtons almost whisper-like singing. but something about the wonder of what he's saying only adds to the mystique of baby giraffe. co-sign has some of the most interesting guitar work on the album, and it has a real dirty, raw, moisture dripping down the walls feeling that might make it my favorite song on the album. and then when lullaby follows right after, the mood completely shifts as i seem to find myself feeling like bill murray in lost in translation as he drives out of tokyo. this is when i realized that this album drips of kevin shield (my bloody valentine), even though newton has always sort of had him as a clearly indicated inspiration. only, baby giraffe seems to take it to a darker level. take daylight for example; still that very raw, shoe-gaze sound but it seems deeper, darker, more echo-like; as if you're getting a private concert from newton himself that takes place in dark, damp cave. finally, here's your horizon ends on the darkest note of the entire album. the title track is slow, draining and filled with insane piano playing and ghostly vocals. where i would like to tell newton to cheer the hell up, what can i say; he's good at what he does, he has a clear vision that continues to successfully construct itself in his music and it's different from all of the other shit we've been hearing from independent torontonian artists. not to mention, he leaves off with a good message to all: "Don't get discouraged."