Australian neo-psychedelic trio the Babe Rainbow released their self-titled debut album on 1st September. They joyfully channel the folky pop music of the hippie era, as we could already hear on their 2015 EP, titled – unexpectedly – ‘The Babe Rainbow’.
The band consists of singer and drummer Angus Dowling, guitarist Jack “Cool-Breeze” Crowther and bassist Lu-Lu-Felix Domingo. The three of them look like they are ready to hitchhike to Woodstock, and listening to their new record will make you feel like doing the same.
The New South Wales natives borrowed their name from an artwork by English pop artist Peter Blake, best known for co-desinging the cover of the Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The music is as colourful as the name implies, and it’s the perfect soundtrack for contemplating that we were born in the wrong decade. (If you remember the 60s, lucky you!)
‘The Babe Rainbow’ is a warm slice of sunny 60s California. It will put a smile on your face and make you want dance and sing along, shaking off all your worries. Indeed, these 12 songs can light up any room on a gloomy day, with their cheerful tunes packed with positive vibes.
The LP opens with a bluesy guitar intro to ‘Losing Something’, and then Dowling’s gentle and melodic vocals invite the listener on an exciting trip: “Pack your bags, we’re leaving soon / Be here now, we’ll take you too / ‘Cross the sea, not coming back / You wouldn’t believe in what you have in front of you.” Crowther’s guitar then takes on a more psychedelic feel and stays that way for the rest of the album.
‘Peace Blossom Boogy’ delivers exactly what the title suggests: a light-hearted and groovy journey into a land where war and violence could not possibly exist. There’s a slight change in tone with ‘Monky Disco’, one of the few tracks on which the group experiments with some electronic elements. The very contemporary-sounding beats and synthesizer melodies blend in surprisingly well with the otherwise old school style. The verses are sung in French, like in a couple of other songs, adding to the eclectic atmosphere.
In ‘Fall in Love’, classic psychedelia meets neo-psych electronica, embracing in a mellow ambience. A definite highlight is ‘Survival into the 21st Century’, a delightful and fine-textured composition with the greatest musical depth on the entire record.
Overall, ‘The Babe Rainbow’ delivers exactly what it sets out to do: it builds a colourful time machine around the listener, transporting them to a decade that has long passed, but will always live on in the heart of generations to come. Although the group’s music is above all nostalgic, their mild electronic experimentation makes it just interesting enough to keep it relevant today.
‘The Babe Rainbow’ is out now via Flightless. The band is currently touring in Europe and visiting North America later this year.