Franco-Scottish duo dial things back to the mischief of early Wild Beasts with a little help from Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry
Those missing the mischievous fruitiness of Wild Beasts’ ‘Limbo, Panto’ era may find solace in the colourful indie pop of ‘Volery Flighty’. Although not as lyrically louche as the young Hayden Thorpe, Franco-Scottish pairing Babe’s debut LP is still mightily saucy – not least on ‘Aerialist Barbette’, its hip-swaying disco balladry inspired by a cross-dressing trapeze artist famous in the 1920s. Gerard Black’s honey-rich falsetto (he of François & The Atlas Mountains fame) is a similarly exotic proposition, peaking on the dreamily spacious chamber pop of ‘Grotto’ and amid the tighter, jangling guitars of ‘Bx Betweenwhiles’. With Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry popping up on backing vocals throughout, the pair combine fluidly on an airy, occasionally flamboyant record that’s just the odd memorable hook short of finding perfect balance.
Simon Jay Catling