Baby Dee - Safe Inside The Day
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Baby Dee
Safe Inside The Day

In addition to being a classically trained harpist who has toured with Antony And The Johnsons and collaborated with Current 93, Baby Dee has also at one time or another worked for a tree removal service, and worked as a musical director of a Catholic church in New York. Given the above information, her music makes a bit more sense, as it gleefully mixes both a classical and pop sensibility while lyrically veering between hauntingly introspective and potty-mouthed.

Joined by a slew of high-profile musicians (including Will Oldham, Matt Sweeney, Andrew WK, and others), the release opens with a real statement in the glorious album-titled "Safe Inside The Day." On the track, subtle string, bass, and guitar backs powerful piano progressions and emphatic vocals that range from whispered to operatic. Oldham adds background vocals, but Baby Dee takes front and center (as she does on every track), creating a six-plus minute gem of a song that veers between understated and roiling. "The Earlie King" takes a completely different direction, vamping it up with vaudeville-style piano and more great backing instrumentation combine to create a track that sounds like it was lifted straight out of a early 20th century musical.

In another shift, the quiet "A Compass Of The Light" and "You'll Find Your Footing" play out sort of like bizarro-world take on a Antony And The Johnsons songs. Whereas Antony tends to keep soaring upward, though, Baby Dee has a tendency to dip into more mischievous intonations. The playful saloon romp of "Teeth Are The Only Bones That Show" even shows off some serious pop hooks as sing-along choruses, horn and string punctuation's, and hilarious lyrics all combine for a song that gets stuck in your craw for days.

Reactions will seriously vary on "Big Titty Bee Girl (From Dino Town)," where Baby Dee romps through a piano and vocal song that veers into such scatological territory that one could imagine it being played at a piano bar in the setting of a John Waters movie. With the neo-classical "Flowers On The Tracks" following the almost renaissance flair of "A Christmas Jig For A Three-Legged Cat," needless to say it's an odd little release. It's also highly enjoyable in places, and those with an ear for eccentric pop music will certainly want to seek it out.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2008-01-31 20:14:46