Performing the type of female-vocals-driven alternative music that catches the ear and demonstrates solid musical acumen that ensures they stay busy performing live frequently, Haybaby’s Sleepy Kids delivers a sonic experience at once familiar, yet with a touch of the personalization that keeps them from fading into the crowd. The six song EP reviewed here has since been flushed out into a full album of tunes that, if these six are any indication, are definitely worth a few listens and certainly worth checking them out if they perform at a venue near you.
According to the various reports I found while Googling the band, they get frequent bookings in and around their native New York City (Brooklyn specifically), and manage to remain pretty busy in that crowded scene. Sleepy Kids certainly proves they deserve all the attention they get.
“Old Friends” opens the sextet of tracks with Leslie Hong plucking out a solitary guitar beat before accompanying herself with haunting vocals for the verses. During the choruses bassist Sam Yields maintains the beat, while Hong goes full One Eyed Doll with the guitar and shrill vocals. Recent addition Jeremy Duvall on drums performs well in support of the two front people.
“New Friends” follows with both verses and chorus meeting on between “Old Friend”’s extremes. This track stays solidly in the alternative sound space created by those who’ve gone before with their distorted guitars and flat-yet-urgent vocals.
Haybaby relies less on distorted riffs to disguise a lack of creativity than do many alternative bands. The third track “Sharks” backs up the melancholically cheerful vocals with nice string and drum work, never resorting to chords and burying the song under a layer of fuzz. This is just solid alternative music, never quite getting to radio-friendly, but always enjoyable. “Pizza Party” continues this style, but keying down the verve and urgency for the verse elements of the tune, and making the instruments do the full load of the chorus ramp-up in tempo and tone. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a song where the chorus is vocals-less, but it really works for “Pizza Party.”
The collection is rounded out with “Her” and “Elevator Song.” “Her” continues the stylistic excellence of the EP, while “Elevator Song” allows Duvall space to shine and break out a bit from beat support and become a unique element in the Haybaby mix.
Haybaby’s Sleepy Kids delivers everything good and sublime that female-fronted alternative bands can offer. It’s never so unique and different that it’s off-putting, but it keeps its own sound and demonstrates why we continue to seek out new music and new artists. We’ll never be lacking for a soundtrack to our lives if we keep finding audio treats like Haybaby.