While Blake Babies made several engaging records in the late '80s and early '90s, they never broke out of the collegiate rock circles where they were adored. It wasn't until 1992 that their leader, Juliana Hatfield, began getting recognition as a songwriter in more mainstream publications, but that was after the group was broken up. Over their four albums, Hatfield's songwriting and thin, girlish singing improved drastically as the band's post-R.E.M. alternative pop grew more muscular, branching out into both punkier and folkier territories on each record. By the time of their last full-length album, 1990's Sunburn, guitarist John Strohm was emerging as an impressive songwriter in his own right. After a final EP in 1991, the band split, with Hatfield emerging as an alternative superstar and Strohm and drummer Freda Love forming the acclaimed guitar pop band Antenna. In 2000 the Blake Babies came out of a ten-year retirement to record a new album, God Bless the Blake Babies. The album was released March 6, 2001, on Rounder Records. Drummer Freda Love conceived the comeback, talking the other two original members into a reunion. She was rewarded with having her first Blake Babies composition "Nothing Ever Happens" be the first single. Older and better musicians, this version of the band sacrifices the charm of the amateur indie pop for a smarter, crafted sound that works as a natural progression of the band. The side projects and solo careers shaped the individual members into hardened veterans of the music industry, and their experiences give their new material a depth that their earlier work lacked. Spring of 2001 saw the band hit the road playing old haunts like Chapel Hill, NC's Cat's Cradle and new versions of the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and the Knitting Factory in New York City to receptive audiences. John Strohm called it the best the Blake Babies ever sounded. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Chris LawrencePortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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