Danish all-girl trio Baby In Vain have finally released their sophomore LP ‘See Through’, which follows on from their acclaimed 2017 debut ‘More Nothing’. Sonically, it’s an album that’s unapologetically seeped in 90s grunge, shoegaze and dream pop nostalgia. Lyrically, however, the album doesn’t wish to look back; instead it’s instinctive, mature and vulnerable as the band remind us that making music on your own terms is crucial in finding yourself and fixing your world in place.
We described Baby In Vain’s debut album as being a bit like diving into an ocean. ‘See Through’, on the other hand, is a bit like an aeroplane journey; apart from a few dashes of turbulence here and there, the journey feels smooth, relaxed, and satisfying by its end – unless you’re on a Ryanair flight. Opening with the track ‘Before You’, strong resonances to the likes of Goat Girl are prevalent from the offset with delicate vocals and eerily dissonant guitar lines. Though the follow up track ‘Koreografi’ notches up the energy levels for a quick three-minute blast, the album’s first half feels tender – almost gentle even. ‘You Don’t have to Pretend’, with its hazy, Mazzy Star aura, reveals the band at their most introspective yet, exploring existentialism and the wraths of wider society.
For those seeking some of that turbulence however, fear not. Released as a single earlier this year, ‘Wherever I Go’ provides the choppiest and most dynamic track on the album, harkening strongly to Kim Gordon’s days as a ‘Kool Thing’. ‘Be My Baby Now’ is similarly foreboding with its wall of guitars and monotone vocal melodies which recapture a glimpse of the band’s more threatening younger selves.
The album’s title track signals a return to calmer, yet more vulnerable straits. A noticeably dry vocal mix gives the track a distinctively grungy tinge which takes centre stage and is accompanied only by sparse guitar and drums that create a faraway atmosphere. Concluding with the tear-jerker ‘Bodyface’, the album ends with lush synth lines that fade into the ether, marking a safe and sound landing for our metaphorical journey.
With ‘See Through’, Baby In Vain display a newfound maturity in their craft. They carefully pick and choose where attitude should take centre stage in an album that brims with openness. For a band still making sense of themselves and the world around them, you get the feeling that what they explore next could be huge.
Words: Jamie Wilde
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