by Michael Falcone (@malfc)
After a prolific five years of EPs, splits and full-lengths, Montreal's Babysitter stumbled into a stride with a 2015 self-titled LP embracing the most off-kilter tendencies of '70s proto-punk. Messy and sharp all at once, the record's best moments are also its most abrasive with guitar and bass parts purposely clashing beneath atonal sax solos and analog tape manipulation, sounding as if The Stooges and The Velvet Underground started angrily and mindlessly jamming over each other's songs.
While Babysitter have yet to follow-up on their self-titled, the trio's frontperson and principal lyricist Kristian North began teasing a solo release back in 2016 with videos for "The Pessimist" and "Politics in Love." A third video for "Wordplay" also premiered earlier this month. On March 9th, these songs will be included on The Last Rock N Roll Record, Kristian North's debut solo LP.
His newest single is called "Artworks." Like the other solo tracks, it follows a hi-fi, poppy, singer-songwriter approach, closer in proximity to '80s releases from Iggy Pop or Lou Reed than the bands they had previously fronted. Not nearly as messy and chaotic as what was explored in Babysitter, “Artworks” and these new solo jams still maintain that band’s balancing act of sharpness and warped disorientation.
Kristian explains, “Like a lot of the record, this song deals with the creative process,” adding weight to a lyric from the song’s second verse - “I was trying to write Crime and Punishment.” This may hint at the personal pressures one might endure while rummaging one’s own imagination for its best possible ideas. But he continues, “Unlike most of the record, it comes to a fairly optimistic conclusion.”
“Artworks” was the last song written for the album, and while it appears at the end of a multi-track suite closing Side A, the track stands just as well on its own as a catchy 2-minute single. Kristian agrees, “It is decidedly pop and has all the fat trimmed from it.”