Sad Baby Wolf – Taken to the 8th Level
Yes, to be fair, there is a Shins-like undertone to the music of Sad Baby Wolf. They are however, their own; with a unique flavour and addicting sonic propulsion. One feels like a sleeping giant waking up slowly, enveloped in shimmering Lilliputian golden cords that of their own volition fall off and free the champion to seek new adventures and meaning. The sound could have become yet another tiring drone-fest, but happily fails to live down to that vibe. Somehow through the guitars and washes of sound I’m given both a needed but gentle jolt to wakefulness, yet not fully as I’m given leave to explore the wonders of this new terrain with my companion and guide the omnipresent and wise Sad Baby Wolf.
The band was conceived during a homecoming of sorts—not in the heat of a romantic dalliance, but a brotherly collaboration. Prodigal sons return and find themselves playing proud papa to a Sad Baby Wolf.
It was autumn of 2010 and Marty Crandall had just been “let go” from a little group you may have heard of—The Shins? —all amidst a painful buzz of gossip-mongering. No doubt it was a welcome relief to be back in his dusty hometown surrounded by open sky, family, and old friends.
An old friend with roots in the Albuquerque music scene of yore (i.e., the mid-90s) was seriously ill and hosting a benefit concert to offset medical expenses. Hot air balloon pilot and fellow-former-Shins guitarist Neal Langford was a natural collaborator for what they assumed was a quick, one-off gig. Along with another long-time buddy and musician, Jason Ward, and Marty’s brother Maury on drums, they pasted together a set of two covers and two originals. It was a slap-dash rush to compose the new songs, yet they found that it felt oddly, exhilarating effortless. The feeling persisted through the performance. The Sad Baby Wolf began singing to Papa Marty: Maybe you should come home more often…