by Jack Derricourt
If I’m the first one telling you about Babysitter, then the times have gotten a bit ahead of you my friend — a couple of light years ahead, to be precise. It’s no water on Mars discovery that Babysitter is one of the most dedicated bands of hard scrabble toil and intuitive garage chops to be found in Canada. The three piece has been littering car stereos and campus radio with wondrous concoctions of teenage riot and grownup boredom for half a decade now. Currently stretched out between Victoria, BC and Montreal, QC, the three piece garage gurus have just finished a 2015 tour and released a new full length on Psychic Handshake. Titled simply Babysitter — like so many of the tapes put out over the last few years — the album promises deep, wandering sonics to all ye who enter.
The new record is for everyone: if you’re just showing up to the party, then this will easily serve as an introduction; and if you’re a Babysitter obsessive like me, hanging on every shrieking lyric, every psyched-out bass line, then the record intends to show off some of the stuff you might have missed. After all, the band has been playing and recording for five years, putting out numerous tapes, singles, and splits; you’re bound to have missed something along the way.
“Our releases had covered this broad spectrum,” says Kristian North, Babysitter’s guitarist and vocalist. “We have a lot of releases at this point, and some people might have bought one thing but not another, so I wanted something that would be a good starting point.”
What emerges from this effort to encapsulate five years’ worth of hard work is a collage of styles, displaying both sides of the Babysitter coin — crushing pop grooves like “Candy” and stoned-out-weirdness jams like “Cry Like An Eagle.” It’s easily the most playful release by the band since they signed up with Psychic Handshake records. Apparently, the blissfully bedroomish vibes stem from the relaxed approach the band brought to the table.
“We wanted to include all of the experimental sides of the band that we’ve included on tapes,” says Kristian. “It happened very naturally. We worked a bit more similarly to how we would record a tape.”
That’s not to say that novelty takes a holiday on Babysitter. “Hard Times” shows off a polished, new wave sound that inarguably glows for the band. Bassist Andy Vanier’s saxophone pops up with sexy squalor all over the record, a new flourish added to the band’s sound. And “Maintaining My Direction” (the greatest of all Babysitter song titles so far) broadcasts an enormity of classic punk attitude — they even feature the sound of broken bottles front and centre.
“That was Aden’s idea actually,” says Kristian, after I inquired about this allusion to The Stooges’ Metallic KO record. “He’d been wanting to do it for a while. The glasses breaking was probably one of the most planned out things, because we had to section off an area and make sure glass didn’t get all over the place.”
Also of note is the presence of sound collage co-hort JLK, who provides backup vocals, sonic wizardry, and sings lead on the absolutely gorgeous fuzz fest “Silky Cloud.” The Babysitter boys have been recording with JLK since the early days, and the collaborations never disappoint, especially on these most recent tracks.
So what’s next? More of the good stuff, by the sounds of it. After all these years, the boys from Babysitter still find themselves gelling, despite the distance.
“Every time we get together it’s easy. We all have it pretty figured out together at this point. It’s fun, that’s the reason that we do it.”
And hail Satan for that!