Baby Bird – There’s Something Going On

Babybirdtheressomethinggoingoncover“This man is so old with evil, he should’ve been put down at birth,” Stephen Jones sings on this album, a distressing elegy on manhood. Baby Bird, only represented in the U.S. by the slick pop-candy-with-a-poison-center of Ugly Beautiful, doesn’t totally dispense with his ironic veneer on There’s Something Going On, but it’s a lot harder to find this stuff funny. He sings about doomed and terrible relationships (“Take Me Back”), amorality (“Bad Old Man”), and ineffectuality (“There’s Something Going On”) with a tenderness that would have seemed affected on one of his previous lo-fi efforts, but here sounds genuine, and genuinely disturbing. There’s Something Going On isn’t a repudiation of Baby Bird’s pop beginnings, it’s a more honest approach to some of the subjects Stephen just goofed on earlier. It produces a few tracks that are a bit longer than they need to be, but when the album works it’s chilling and touching at once.

Rating: B

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