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"Old Baby" is the latest record from Company, a songwriting collective and rock band rooted in folk, punk, country, and psychedelic traditions. Brought together by a shared commitment to writing songs that don't "pussyfoot around", to borrow Dylan's phrase, Adam Davison, David Janik, Stephanie Rabins, and Christopher Teret formed Company in 2001. Self-released records and a string of shows with the likes of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Bright Eyes, Arbouretum, The Double, Oakley Hall, and Oneida followed.
The 2005 release of "Parallel Time" on Brah Records led to collaboration with Oneida drummer and Brah co-founder Kid Millions as producer and Barry London as recording and mixing engineer. The result is "Old Baby", a rich, layered work, and something of a departure from the live feel of previous recordings.
Evocative guitars, dynamic rhythms, uplifting harmonies, and lyrics by turns incisive and insightful interweave to create a homespun sound that is as striking as it is familiar. In these songs, simplicity shimmers, dreams pack the punch of hard facts, and the human heart is laid bare, weird, defiant, and lovely. From contemplation of the everyday in "Poison Ivy" to meditation on guilt in "The Sad Businessman" to the allegorical in "Old Crow's Complaint", Company navigates deep waters here. And throughout are unconventional songs about relationships, such as the manic ode to friendship "Shine", the dreamlike "Ain't That Bad", and the lament "I Guess I'm Lonely".
This is a band at ease with their craft but still charting new territory. Listening to the closing track, "Hard Choice", with its bittersweet contemplation of loneliness, we can console ourselves that, no matter where we are, we now have "Old Baby" to keep us company, and that ain't bad.