Stating your influences loud and proud is undeniably a good thing, and Beabadoobee certainly isn’t afraid to do that. After making her name with spindly acoustic numbers in the same ballpark as her influences Elliott Smith and the late, great Daniel Johnston, she’s now realising her rock star dreams and breaking free of the limiting term ‘bedroom-pop’.
On second EP ‘Loveworm’, released in April this year, Bea Kristi managed to toe the line between intimate and expansive. There was, though, bound to be a switch-up for new collection ‘Space Cadet. “I’m craving for something more and something louder,” she told NME earlier this year. “I wanna sing like Stephen Malkmus, for fuck’s sake! I want to be Kim Gordon!”
So there’s the key blueprint for the 19-year-old artist: she wants to be heard and inhibit those noisier inspirations. ‘Space Cadet’ is all of the above and beyond – it’s a brazen racket where she channels the aforementioned Pavement and Sonic Youth to make her most visceral work to date, giving those ’90s grunge heroes a modern twist.
Let’s start with the obvious one, then – ‘I Wish I Stephen Malkmus’ is one of the most fun songs we’ve heard all year. It’s got a killer chorus and a youthful vigour that teases a world where anything is possible and everything sounds good. Among the dreams, there’s a crucial lesson self-love for Bea, too: “I wanted change – no one forced it / My hair is blue / It’s pretty obvious that I kinda like it”. The Pavement frontman loves it, too: the duo recently hung out during her run of US shows and he confirmed that he and his daughters now “stan” the London-based artist.
There’s more to it than just a smashing single, though. Opening song ‘Are You Sure’ is laced with uncertainty and anxiety (“It’s obvious you’ve never felt this way / My brain’s alone and no one understands”) and paired with the same kind of energy and decibel levels that Pixies maxed out on 1989’s ‘Doolittle’. On ‘Sun More Often’, she channels another of her heroes: singer in anti-folk group Moldy Peaches’ Kimya Dawson and her cutting vocals. ‘She Plays Bass’, meanwhile, is a sweet tribute to an even closer inspiration: her live bassist, Eliana.
‘Space Cadet’ builds on Bea’s astute songwriting and is a bold revolution for another bright young artist showing off Gen Z’s attitude to take something tried-and-tested and give it a new lease of life. Judging by this effort, she’s poised to become a hero in her own right.