Baio: Man of the World (Glassnote) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, July 11th, 2020  

Baio

Man of the World

Glassnote

Jun 29, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Like many of us, it's safe to say 2016 will not go down as Chris Baio's favorite year on the planet. Opening with the death of his favorite artist David Bowie, the Vampire Weekend bassist's annus horribillis was compounded by the Brexit shitstorm hitting the fan in his adopted homeland of England in June. And then there was Trump.

Man of the World is Baio's attempt to make sense of those crazy 366 days (it was a leap year) in the only way he can: through the sound of hook laden pop melodies. As protests go, these 11 songs don't conform to the archetypal blueprint of Dylan et al, but underneath its glossy '80s veneer this is a record that depicts a world spinning quickly into the abyss.

During his excellent 2015 solo debut The Names, Baio seemed desperate to shake off his Vampire Weekend shackles. Here, he's more comfortable embracing the effervescence of his day job. "The Key is Under the Mat," especially, is an all-swaying polyrhythmic rollick straight from the same songbook as "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa."

Yet sonically and narratively many of  these cuts are smarter than they seem. "PHILOSOPHY!" is a trumpet-parping, guitar skipping jaunt that finds Baio tackling the perils of bullshit news; on "Vin Mariani" he is "learning to live with a decision" as a grinding synth line eventually gives way to stripped back a cappella; while the transitory electronic scales of "Shame in My Name" unpeel into a peculiar burst of experimental hopscotch.

It's not a perfect product by any means"DANGEROUE ANAMAL" comes perilously close to self-bloated naval gazing-but the execution and intent is striking. In a world that feels like it's shattered beyond repair, there's something reassuring about Chris Baio's determination to pick up the pieces. (www.baiobaio.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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