Review Summary: If you are a fan of Unsane, Melvins or anything fronted by Steve Albini, then you'll probably get a kick out of Made Out of Babies' Coward.
Take a look at the cover for Made Out of Babies' album Coward. It's kinda hard to look at. A young boy, who looks about six years old, stares us down with fiercely green eyes, adorning an unsightly blood-fest of scratches and bruises on the right side of his face. It looks as if he fell out of a moving car on a highway and skidded across the side of the road on his face for a couple dozen feet.
Made Out of Babies are as distasteful and macabre as their name and Coward's album art imply. They are a sludgy post-hardcore band from New York City with noise rock influences reminiscent of bands like Unsane, The Jesus Lizard, Melvins and a little bit of Shellac. The band is comprised of Julie Christmas on vocals, Bunny Tobin (Red Sparrowes) on guitar, Cooper on bass and Matthew Egan on drums. Miss Christmas has been described by Revolver as "Courtney Love, PJ Harvey and Karen O rolled into one whirling, wailing dervish." Although Christmas' presence can be a little distracting on the album as she freakishly screams lyrics the likes of "It seems our dreams are spools of string and pigs with wings," the band as one entity is disastrous and pummeling. At various times, the sound throttles you, glares into your eyes with its tormenting corneas and tosses you aside into a lake of blood. It's ugly. It's fierce. But it doesn't always have to be pulverizing to be worth your while.
During the course of its 37-minute length, Coward runs along at a consistent tempo. It never gets too quick. It never gets too slow. It plays very much like an Unsane record would. There are moments of thunderous chaos with a balance of calm, broody ones. Coward is often understated by its processor The Ruiner. I haven't heard the album, but there's no reason to not give this a first or second chance. If anything is to be praised the most on this album, it is definitely the closer "Gunt." It is a culmination of everything the band is loved for: grating screams, muddy basslines and clangorous drums. Which brings me to my next point; the guitar tracks on this album are very subdued in which the bass tracks almost eclipse them. There are moments, of course, when the guitars outmatch the bass, but as a whole, the champion here is Cooper.
If you are a fan of Unsane, Melvins or anything fronted by Steve Albini, then you'll probably get a kick out of Made Out of Babies' Coward. It may not influence you to wreck a six-year-old with your fists and leave him like the kid on the cover, but it may kindle a warm sensation in your spitfire heart if you're looking to get a quick sludge fix.