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Babeheaven - Home For Now (Album Review)

Monday, 23 November 2020 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Luca Anzalone

‘Home for Now’, West London band Babeheaven’s first album, is a washy cloud of dream-trip-hop with elegant textures and tones, fronted by the delicate stylings of vocalist Nancy Andersen. While lightweight, it provides a caring salve in a world that may only just be turning the corner on a wretched year.

The single Cassette Beat is a soft epic that recalls Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry’s 1994 hit, 7 Seconds. This might actually reveal where the song (and album) lacks a certain something: once you identify the political radicalism and naked compassion of the older record, the nebulous soundalike stylings here often feel a bit shallow.

Actually, you could say similar things about the track Human Nature. This seems like a pretty direct lift from another 1990s hit, 6 Underground by Sneaker Pimps.

Of course, there is no copyright on musical energy or ‘vibe’, and one must give the benefit of the doubt to a band who may have never even heard of Sneaker Pimps, but to incorporate the sound so blatantly without covering your tracks feels either disingenuous or lazy.

That said, there is real craft in the production and arrangements. In My Arms is a diaphanous ballad, once again employing 1990s finish and, yes, a cassette tape quality. Andersen’s double-tracked voice on this song is marvellous, and when a guitar solo responds, the effect is elevating. It’s one of the album's most direct emotional hits.

Generically, ‘Home for Now’ occupies the middle space in a venn diagram featuring Massive Attack, Dido and the relaxing soundtrack of the last hipster coffee shop you visited. But like that name, Babeheaven, there is something a bit cringey buried deep down here, something watery that doesn't seem to respond to the world around it, despite being in the place to. I'll have a flat white please. To go.

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