Babygotbacktalk, “Up In Open Arms” EP review

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Babygotbacktalk, Up In Open Arms, April 2018
RIYL: Crying, Diarrhea Planet, New Found Glory

We have reached the point of time in art where emo/pop-punk and violins meet. It is a good time. Up In Open Arms is a joyous, hopeful, exuberant record, even when it’s about tough material.

There’s some great guitar playing on this record, and the melodies and vocals are absolutely true to their primary pop-punk genre in a way I think people really look for and like. But the violin, by Rhiana Hernandez, adds so much to this record. The opener, “Notes to a Dreampolitik,” is a great example of one player lifting already solid material to higher ground: short, tender intro vocals are thrown into an uplifting arrangement, and the violin pulls the whole thing through the needle perfectly.

Singer/bassist G’Ra Asim writes songs “driven by a DIY ethic, conversant with social issues — especially as they pertain to gender and race,” according to the band’s bio. But so often those songs about important issues are set to a low tempo–this Babygotbacktalk EP hits squarely in the face, with conviction, pride, certainty, and hope: “If you’re hearing the music/don’t ever lose it/there’s better acoustics with your head in the clouds/…/keeping the faith is knowing we’ll make it if we’re singing it loud,” he sings on “Hearing the Music.” I love that. I agree.

–Francesca Olsen



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