Thursday, October 27, 2016

Affectionately Yours, Babes


Photo courtesy Babes


Listening Station ButtonThe default attitude for most adults nowadays is cynicism. So, it is refreshing that a group like Babes can unfurl a pop banner and dance under it for all to see.

There’s nothing overly sweet with Babes and the material on their EP, but what the band present is cautiously optimistic. With Hey My Man, Aaron Leigh sings to a friend with:

Here’s my plan/Gone and saved all my money/Will piss it all away, because we think its funny/You can be alone, while I’m on your side/You can be alone.”

The sentiment is endearing, and the chorus, “Every day is a new chance to get high,” shines like a mantra from a 1970’s paragliding commercial. It’s easy to knock down anything that’s positive or might have a chance to bring joy into one’s life because what if it doesn’t work out? Babes evoke a sense of practicality that what might feel like love or joy is okay to explore. Let’s get down to the work and talk about it.

On Isn’t It Love, Sarah Rayne Leigh sings about clouds and the ocean in a frail, barely there voice. She dips low and asks, “Isn’t what we have – isn’t it love?” Again, there’s that cautious optimism.

On ATMO the group sing with full harmonies about pain being a symptom of love, about how “Life is Always Turning Me On,” and all of it falls together in a beautifully arranged bouquet of drums, keys and string work. That chorus is so universal. It could be sung at teen bible camp or on the counter of a dive bar.

The catchy hooks and wind up chorus from Babes – every day is a new chance to get/ every day is a new chance to get high! – paint a vivid picture of exuberance in a time when few people even ask for the paint colors.

Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.

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