I have to wonder what rock critics would've done without L7 and Babes in Toyland, as it seems every writer feels compelled to make comparisons to these bands whenever a female-fronted group is being discussed.
That said, Minneapolis' Baby Guts show a bit of the ol' influence themselves. This is no sludgy L7 stuff and there's no pitch-shifting Bjelland on the mic, but vocalist/guitarist Laura Larson certainly has that angry scream down. If I have to, I'd compare Larson's wailing to Corin Tucker in her Heavens to Betsy days.
Baby Guts dont slow down, even for a moment, with fourteen songs in just under half an hour. There are multiple songs with dirgy, doom metal intros but after ten/twenty seconds the frantic drums and piercing screams take over, hardly offering respite from the intensity. This is the kind of music that keeps your feet bouncing involuntarily. Baby Guts primarily plays dirty rock'n'roll with more swagger than the Riot Grrrl bands, more like a Motörhead-influenced punk band than something on Kill Rock Stars.
The band shows a variety of influence on The Kissing Disease, from upbeat and melodic songs to the circle pit inducing "Hamster Bite." Following it, the band immediately shifts gears toward a more straight-forward garage-tinged rock on the cover song "Dispelled." Meanwhile, Larson shows the range to keep a melody (albeit with rough edges) in songs like "Asbestos/Esophagus" and "Tiny Cuts." There are largely two types of songs on here: melodic, garage-influenced punk with attitude, and angry, angry hardcore.
To nitpick with my criticisms, there are too many of these metallic intros, where just a couple would've been fun. Similarly, Larson only really sings at one pitch, and slightly more group vocals would mix things up nicely. This is a very solid record and these are minor preferences. Besides, by avoiding the pitfall of group choruses, they aren't so easily lumped into the ghetto of chant-along punk bands while the shortness of the record keeps Larson's voice from sounding too redundant. Bassist Taylor Motari pinch-hits on occasion with his own throat shredding screams that make Larson's seem even more melodic.
8.0 / 10
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