"Baby Scream - Secret Place"
by Mike Lidskin
(Sacramento, California, U.S.A.)
South Americana. That’s a brand new genre of music which I just invented. Well, to be completely honest, I just came up with a label for Juan Pablo Mazzola’s band Baby Scream--he’s the mastermind behind the genre. And why not?
So what is South Americana? It’s Baby Scream’s twist on Americana, the kind of music you’d get if you love the Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo, but you hail from Buenos Aires rather than Minneapolis.
Baby Scream first landed on my radar a couple of years ago, and I instantly connected with several of their tracks. They sounded familiar, to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on what they sounded like. Upbeat pop alternating with some moody sounds.
Then Juan came and visited Northern California, and I had the chance to spend the better part of a rainy Saturday with him. We chatted for hours about music, both on my radio show (Twirl Radio) and around Sacramento. It was then that I realized he was a huge fan of Americana, especially the kind that centered around Minneapolis and the Midwest. Bands like the aforementioned Jayhawks, Soul Asylum, Uncle Tupelo. But also the Replacements, a Twin Cities band not normally associated with the Americana movement, but who have loomed large over the Minneapolis scene, and all that came after.
So the influences are all there. What does the new Baby Scream album, “Secret Place”, sound like?
It starts with the rollicking “The Last Call”. Musical guns blazing, this one pulls out all the stops--clever lyrics, wah wah guitar, crisp drums, and even an organ swirling all around. It races forward at a breakneck pace, then “Hit And Run” slows down the pace, sounding like classic Jayhawks from their glory days. The title track is another standout. Kind of a mid-tempo country rocker, with a bit of honky-tonk piano and country guitar to augment it. From Buenos Aires to Nashville--the world is full of secret places, really!
Another song I really like is “Cold Weather Reggae”. It’s got a moody, sophisticated feel, a chunky reggae beat, jazz guitar, and that swirling organ that the band uses to such great effect. And then it ends suddenly with a sort of “Pink Panther” feel. Probably the most interesting track of all.
“Bad Seed“ is a driving track--along with the album opener, one of my two favorites. A song about a troubled young man, it traces his hard life from his childhood to the present day. “The Atmosphere” is another moody track, bringing in a tasteful violin and some whooshing wind sounds. The song is punctuated by some percussive violin bursts.
The 10 songs all clock in at under 3 minutes each, for a quick and easily listenable run of under 25 minutes. Juan’s command of the English language and American musical idioms are outstanding. I’m glad he gears his music towards the English speaking world. That ensures a wider audience here in North America and in Britain. While singing in the higher register of his vocal range, he puts his own unique spin on the Americana, jazz, and reggae genres to create something new: the Baby Scream sound.
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About The Writer
My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.
If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.
Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot.
I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.