Refusing to lie down
There is of course a very obvious way to start a review of a new Babyird album, but to use the opening paragraph to make reference to the song which gave them one-hit wonder status, and for years found them gate crashing love song radio shows could, some might argue, be seen as lazy journalism. Which is why I've decided to ramble for the first couple of sentences, leave a blank line, and then state the bleeding obvious!
Not to everyone's taste, 'You're Gorgeous' did become one of the most overplayed songs of the nineties, but everyone's entitled to their fifteen minutes of fame. Those sitting in the ignorant corner will have pointed the finger at Babybird, accusing them of not being able to follow up such a chart smash, but who said they ever intended to become U2 sized world dominators?
At the risk of sounding the death bell too early, my problem with the one-hit wonder status, is that regardless of how good, bad or indifferent anything a band or artist does from that point on is, it often gets overlooked. Something which is nuts with an album such as this: let's hope it brings Babybird back into the mainstream, or at least shifts a decent number of copies.
The album gets off to a first class start; 'Too Much' is an atmospheric and catchy ballad such as you might find on many an alternative album of recent times. It has an air of Divine Comedy about it and is also the first of a number of tracks where a comparison to Echo and the Bunnymen can be drawn; Stephen Jones' vocals do have the soft, mature and uncomplicated charm of Ian McCulloch.
Tracks on this record fall into two categories, the dreamy and the rocky. 'Dive' and 'Snails' are the latter. 'Dive' opens with electronic effects which make you think you're listening to its Chemical Brothers remix, and the vocals in the verses have been messed about with in the way Beck might. 'Snails' is Echo and the Bunnymen meets classic Blur, and is alternative rock at its very best.
Further melodic highlights include the majestic 'The Little Things' and 'Divorce Song', but the album's defining moment is '70'. It bridges the two tempos of this album perfectly, and surprises you with a section of what can only be described as dance style scratching.
Sure so 'Between My Ears There's Nothing But Music' isn't the perfect album, and if it catches you in the wrong mood might drift into background music towards the end. It is though an album well worth a listen, and is a collection of songs that will translate perfectly onto the live scene.
Watch out for Babybird dates in the coming months and make sure you get along and check them out. The plus side to popularity not being what it once was, is that you'll get them in an environment where lo-fi music such as can be found on this new album really comes into its own. If you do go see them, for god's sake don't stand there looking bored waiting for their one hit single: you'll be missing out on a great night!