We’re not keen on dinner parties, or the idea that “chill out” music is suitable for them as background music for middle class chat. Instead, put on some Deathgrind or Doom Metal and accept your fate
Babeheaven (lifelong friends vocalist Nancy Andersen and producer Jamie Travis) are said to make cosy songs for the 4am cab ride home or for bedding down in front of a log fire. Andersen is however aware that people are rude about “easy listening”, a category Babeheaven’s music may fit into. But there’s certainly nothing to be rude about when it comes to Sink Into Me, their second album following 2020’s Home For Now, as it’s an engaging, elegant album.
Our nerves may be frazzled, but Sink Into Me will help with its calming, soothing influence. Andersen’s voice floats above confident, sophisticated production (Travis and Simon Byrt) and flawless instrumentation (Luca Mantero – guitar; Hugo McGuire – bass; Ned Smith – drums). Although Babeheaven made a conscious decision with this album to move away from being a “trip-hop bedroom-pop band” to something more “widescreen”, the focus and tone is intimate. Comparisons with Zero 7 are merited, as both excel in music for daydreaming, as found here on the title track, “Open Your Eyes” and “Fading”. The warmth of “Don’t Wake Me” makes a good case for staying in dreamland.
There are also energetic moments. The summery pop of “The Hours” works with the tension between upbeat music and downbeat lyrics suggesting there is still some hope despite the stasis of being stuck in monotony (“on and on the ordinary/days go by but I stay here right here”). The atmospheric, experimental “Erase Me” uses the life cycle of a moth as a metaphor for the desperation to emerge from the chrysalis of the past few years, and to grow into something new.
Sink Into Me is also adept at quiet drama. “4Days”, written on the fourth day after the passing of a family friend, is a dark evocation of loss with a haunted vocal and stark drumbeat. “Make Me Wanna” is intensified in its search for connection through a sharp interlude by Brooklyn rapper Navy Blue, and “Heartbeat” and “Holding On” are memorable for their distinctive synth chords.
The charismatic vocals and deep melodies on the album means the listener has little choice but to submit. As such, Sink Into Me is perfectly titled, and not for wasting on a boring dinner party.
Available on CD (including a limited art edition listening pack) and download.
Release Date: 18 MAR 2022