words by Emma Rose

Baio is the musical project of Chris Baio, bassist from well-known indie rock group Vampire Weekend, and despite the bands huge success, Chris Baio had the urge to discover his own musical identity, and so began to write during his spare time between tours. The product of this was two successful EPs and now the release of his first full-length album, The Names.

At first listen The Names may appear to be an album easily written off as plain electro-pop. However after a deeper listen reveals an album sprinkled with ornamental moments that decorate the music, adding elements of disjunct and interest. According to Baio the album “explores ideas of space — of belonging, identity and finding a place in the world”. Despite these deeper concepts, the album is filled with synthesized riffs and strong rhythms giving it a fun, dance-pop vibe. His voice is far from what is viewed as ‘perfect’ however adds a wonderful touch of character through its low, almost speech-like manner. The heavy use of synthesizers and his characteristic voice makes the overall album an echo of 80’s synth pop immersed with unique compositional elements that give it a modern twist.

It is difficult to identify standout tracks on the album as it has a lovely ebb and flow. However the unique structure of ‘I Was Born In a Marathon’ makes it a highlight, with its stop start vocals juxtaposed against a fifteen second silence in the middle of the song that finally flows into smooth lyrical vocals to conclude. ‘Sister of Pearl’ and ‘Endless Rhythm’ are also lovely additions epitomising the synth dance pop sound of the album.

Overall a pleasing effort from Baio.

Rating: ★★★

The Names will be out on September 18 through Glassnote Records – get your pre-orders in now from iTunes.


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