Posted on May 1st, 2024

A couple of weeks back, Babe Report – the Chicago band comprising members of Yeesh (Tiny Engines), Geronimo! (Exploding In Sound), and FCKR JR (Born Yesterday) – announced signing to Exploding In Sound for their forthcoming debut album, Did You Get Better, set to release on May 31. The news arrived with media support from Billboard, BrooklynVegan, FLOOD, and others – the latter hailing the lead single for "bridging the gap between the current movements in power-pop, pop-grunge, and other DIY rock subgenres."

Today, Babe Repoert return with the album's second single, "Universal," which offers something somewhat more refined, with occasional moments of restraint amid the commotion that arrives in a hardy whack of heavy riffs. “This one is all about climbing up onto your neighbor’s back to succeed,” the band explain. “Most aspects of life are not a zero-sum game, but when they are, it feels ethically wrong to win."

Where the band initially existed as a lockdown-inspired duo, Babe Report became a fully-fledged four-piece on the aforementioned The Future of Teeth EP, with Ben Grigg and Emily Bernstein expanding their line-up to include Peter Reale on drums and Mech on bass. Such reinforcements grow exponentially here, and they come to define Did You Get Better. Both a bigger and more accomplished version of the band than we’ve heard to date, the album boasts a woozy concoction of 90s-drenched guitars and melodic grooves.

Recorded over just one weekend in November 2023, using several one-of-a-kind prototype mics at Radon Ranch - Ben and Emily’s humble basement studio - the songs here are both gripping in their immediacy and wholly intoxicating. Embracing disorder throughout, Babe Report funnel their influences into something both boisterous and exuberant; a thunderstorm trapped inside a bottle.

A tumultuous tale, the album is part snapshot of the band’s singular and curious perspectives but also of their surroundings in Jefferson Park, an area that is rife with inspiration. “We practice on Wednesdays when the hyper-local Nadig Newspaper is delivered. We invariably spend the first few minutes of practice reviewing the weekly, idiotic antics of our Alderman,” the band says, while also citing “women driving cars with manual transmissions, the cult of fame and personality, and dreams of throwing your severed body parts into the ocean” as part of the album’s idiosyncratic nature.

However it finds you or you find it, Did You Get Better finds a way to take the reigns, plowing headfirst into its journey and rarely looking back for approval, to even worry if anyone else is joining for the ride. Through its intense rushing and the occasional moments of cessation, it showcases a band in a bold and brilliant new chapter, highlighting the power of growth and collaboration in a way that feels considerably and endearingly forthright.

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