Sometimes a silly dalliance is more fruitful than a prolonged affair. For the Babies, the interstitial marriage of Vivian Girls singer/guitarist Cassie Ramone and Woods bassist Kevin Morby, this project — conceived as a between-tours flirtation — is often better than the real thing. Perhaps it's because all that ramshackle, much-debated in their more well-known bands, is less an identifying characteristic than it is a byproduct of quick and dirty execution. The Babies runs less than 30 minutes in all and its brevity is a real gift.
Often passing the mic mid-song, Ramone and Morby have a natural, vibrant chemistry. On the sprightly "Breakin The Law," they evoke clear forbearers Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra's sly interplay, winking with their voices and carrying each other's harmonies. Faster is always better here, too, as on the standout, "Meet Me in the City," a doe-eyed shot at love. "Be my lady, be my lady!" Morby squeals on the song before exploding into the double-tracked chorus. On "Wild 1" and "Wild 2," they face off in the real, nabbing the spotlight solo, delivering songs that sound far closer to their full-time gig's sound. Nothing wrong there exactly, but it only amplifies the point: For a change, the sum is greater than the parts.