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Babal - The Big Everything CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.95 | 2 ratings

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3 stars Originally known as "Babble", this band from the UK changed their name to "Babal" in 2012. They are a Crossover Prog band and have released 1 full length album in 2018, and 2 EPs, one in 2018 and one in April of 2019. The latter EP is known as "The Big Everything" and is comprised of 2 tracks that have a total run time of 28 minutes. The core line up has consisted of Karen Langley on vocals; Rob Williams on guitars and sythesizers; and Jon Sharp on drums. There are also some guest musicians on this EP, namely Paul Smith on bass on the first track, Zoie Green on keyboards on the 2nd track, and Ben Balsom on bass on the 2nd track. Karen and Rob also write the lyrics and music.

The first track is the title song for the album "The Big Everything" which is a 19 minute epic track. Chiming guitars and shimmering effects bring in the unique vocals, which are quite enticing. The lyrics are definitely not your standard rhyming lyrics and have some really great phrasing. They also don't follow any standard melody structure either, making them sound more poetic. During the vocal breaks, synth and guitar continue to give a somewhat psychedelic sound, and even utilizes a trance-like quality, yet the music doesn't hide behind a haze like most psychedelic music. Vocals are clear and easy to understand. Vocals are spread out evenly throughout the song, yet there is still time left to have instrumental sections also. The vocals also range from a chant-like style to melodic, but never following any real thematic structure, and sometimes both styles are layered together. The music flows with the same rhythm and tempo through the entire track, which lends itself even more towards the psychedelic/space rock style. There are textural changes in the different instrumental breaks (and even within the vocals) however, so over it's long play time, at least it strives to not become stagnant. Wordless vocals towards the last section of the track treat the voice as an improvising instrument.

"Beggars to Chance" is the 2nd track and is almost 9 minutes long. A faster drum beat bring in the soft guitar notes and synth effects as a nice groove is established. After a while, the guitar intensifies and continues to improvise. Vocals come in after 2 minutes. There are some interesting dissonant harmonies that go on here that keep things interesting. Later, some nice keyboards are added to soften things up a bit as the non-standard lyrical and thematic sounds continue. As before, the rhythm remains constant, while the vocals and improvisation parts bring about changes in style, tone and texture. Around 6 minutes, the rhythm drops out as the music and vocals carry the rest of the track to the end.

This is definitely an interesting sound, the lyrics and vocals are poetic, the rhythm constant in most cases and everything else responsible for bringing about variety through both of the long tracks. This is music that grows on you, that can have an effect on you like trance music, but still ever changing to keep you interested. I'm not sure if a full-length album would have made this a stronger release, but as it is, the biggest drawback is the shortness of it all. At least it intrigues me and makes me want to explore some of their other releases. This could almost be a 4 star release, but it just misses that mark.

TCat | 3/5 |


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