The Start: Ciao, Baby (2007)


Ok, here’s another album I picked up from the merch table at a live show. Unlike with JoJ, though, I was already a huge fan of The Start and was probably seeing them live for about the eighth time. Because I’m bad at keeping up with stuff, I didn’t know they had even released a new album until Aimee Echo (still the only girl I’d go totally gay for) announced that they’d only be playing stuff off the new cd. That’s usually kind of a blow for fans who want to hear old favorites, and I was geared up to be a little disappointed, but I’ll be damned if the new album wasn’t their very best yet. Thus the purchasing it immediately after they walked off stage.

Ciao, Baby is a sexy album. It is poppy and dancy, but just edgy enough to make it too grown up for the pop stations (which is too bad cuz they’re a niche that unfortunately just doesn’t get any radioplay, even though their sound is perfect for it). Synth-driven, but not for want of distorted guitars, the Start conjures easy Depeche Mode and other brit pop comparisons. However, relations to harder bands (Human Waste Project & Snot) infuse the sound with a rockiness that mopey DM never grasped.  In the past, the Start has suffered from a revolving musician issue where random bass players and drummers left too many holes from album to album, but for this one it looks like they really embraced their twosome-ness and finally got down to their true flavor.

The album begins with it’s strongest track, Wartime. Echo’s voice is perfect, sultry – the sound Madonna goes for but doesn’t quite achieve on Human Nature. I imagine Wartime as the perfect tune for a burlesque song and dance, complete with a little camo getup. It just begs to be staged. “This is the perfect game, cuz no one loses.”

Dance Revolution is another track that has me jacking up the volume. Easily the most danceable tune on the album – which I guess is appropriate given the name – it’s also got surprisingly clever lyrics, including a shoutout to Emma Goldman. But my favorite part is, “When the beat drops let it bomp   bomp     bomp.” Other standout tracks include My Millionaire (really dissonant sounding voice – lots of minor notes, but eerily singable), Fix (“my heart, it beats so hard, it beats so hard, it beats for you”), and the title track. Plus, listen to the bonus track for Eno, their pet chiuaua singing along.

I wouldn’t say there are any skippable tracks, certainly the whole album is great. But Runaway, Master Plan, and Surrender are a touch too sentimental to earn rave reviews.

The album is best listened to where you can dance, although I’ve never heard it played at clubs. Therefore, catching the band live is a must! It’s also good for cooking/baking when you’re on your feet and can enjoy the movement. I listen in the car regularly, but I’m also guilty of rocking the steering wheel if the music really gets me.


  1. Shandi said,

    January 24, 2009 @ 9:33 am

    Runaway is one of the best opener songs. Dunno which show you were referring to that you saw that you picked this cd up from, but Chelsea MAKES that song live.

    That was the first song I saw them play after she had joined the band, and by golly, she got my attention.

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