Taking a step away from the shadow he cast with New York giants Vampire Weekend, bassist Chris Baio is making the name he was given his own. ‘The Names’ is Baio’s first full-length solo release. Infusing the blissful indie pop of his band with his own affinity for dance music, Baio has wrapped up soaring sentiments in a multi-textured release capable of making bodies move as much as it soothes.
The dichotomy of this identity is embodied poignantly through ‘I Was Born In A Marathon’. Beginning with pounding rhythms and energetic basslines, at the halfway mark everything falls by the wayside in favour of fluid vocals and spiralling melodies. It could almost be two separate tracks, by two separate artists even. But Baio incorporates all aspects of his creativity, forging a record that is, in its very essence, him.
‘The Names’ has been a long time in the making, and that devotion is evident in every breezy refrain, chiming melody, and pulsating rhythm. Take a glance behind those things, peer underneath the contagious hooks and echoing choruses, and what you’re left with is an ode to devotion, passion, and emotion. Each track is infused with a love for it’s own creation, and that enjoyment echoes in every verse and chorus hook.
Perhaps the most similar to Vampire Weekend of old is ‘Sister Of Pearl’, with its chiming melodies rippling along blissful choruses, and layers of melody sailing with graceful ease. ‘Endless Rhythm’ is a song written about the sheer love of writing songs. Title track ‘The Names’ infuses stuttering synths with sublimely smooth vocals, whilst the electric grooves of ‘Brainwash yyrr Face’ switch from their mellow origins to an overpowering climax.
Eclectic almost to an extreme, Baio combines reckless abandon with infectious introspection to create something entirely, captivatingly new.