Dork Radio
Now playing:
In the mag...
Featuring Lewis Capaldi, Fontaines D.C., Ten Tonnes and more.
Order a copy
May 2019
Review

Sweet Baboo - Wild Imagination

‘Wild Imagination’ is an utter joy.
Sweet Baboo - Wild Imagination
Published: 10:29 am, May 31, 2017
‘Wild Imagination’ is an utter joy.

Label: Moshi Moshi
Released: 2nd June 2017
Rating: ★★★★

After the intricate assemblies and smart, winsome wordplay of his fifth album, 2015’s ‘The Boombox Ballads’, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist wizard Sweet Baboo (born Stephen Black, from Trefriw, North Wales) was tired. He “almost packed it all in,” according to friend and collaborator Cate Le Bon. “Fortunately you cannot split up yourself.”

“Fortunately” is the word. Embracing positivity, wrenching optimism from the bloodied jaws of catastrophic current affairs (“I think everyone agrees 2016 was a pretty shitty year,” Black says), ‘Wild Imagination’ is an utter joy. With a recipe of sounds - crisp, clean guitars, synths and drum machines - far lighter than the cover’s grim buffet suggests, it’s an album about travelling and the simple joy of coming home; about fatherhood; about hope and calm amid chaos. The leisurely, easygoing title track sets a cosmic, but pastoral tone. As backing vocals swoon contentedly, the wild imagination of the title comes into play as Black and his son “blast off” like rockets. Three reflective songs follow, starting with the loungey ‘Swallows’, before the pulsing, almost submerged bass drum running under ‘Badminton’’s coy boasting (“it'll be a landslide result”) shifts into ‘Clear Blue Skies’.

An expanse of celestial calm in the centre of the album, it’s about taking off - a lack of gravity we could all use. On the second side, ‘Hold On’ is an ode to coming home, all slow synth swells and delicate picking, while ‘Pink Rainbow’ is playful, placid funk for when “you feel a certain way/and your sugar level’s low”. After a brief spell in ‘Humberside’ (“Why am I tired?/I’ve done nothing much today”), Sweet Baboo’s off to ‘Californ-i-a’, adrift on piano and lush harmonies. It's a gorgeous closer, in the same Beach Boys-obsessive vein as the High Llamas, or Field Music’s quietest moments. It's an album that could be perfect for walks in the sun, or strolls through your own imagination, however wild. Rob Mesure

Give all this a try

No Rome has dropped a brand new track, 'Cashmoney'
Listen

No Rome has dropped a brand new track, 'Cashmoney'

It's the first track to arrive from a new EP, 'Crying in the Prettiest Places'.
Watch: The 1975's Matty Healy has been playing 'Notes On A Conditional Form' cut 'Jesus christ 2005 god bless america' in the US
Listen

Watch: The 1975's Matty Healy has been playing 'Notes On A Conditional Form' cut 'Jesus christ 2005 god bless america' in the US

Check out the intimate, acoustic track as performed at some small US radio 'thingys'.
Sam Fender has announced his debut album 'Hypersonic Missiles'
Incoming!

Sam Fender has announced his debut album 'Hypersonic Missiles'

Seemed as good an excuse as any to get the BRITs Critics' Choice winner on the blower to tell us more.
Another Sky have dropped a brand new single, 'The Cracks'
Watch

Another Sky have dropped a brand new single, 'The Cracks'

The second track from a forthcoming EP, 'Life Was Coming In Through The Blinds', you can check it out now.
Like this? Subscribe to Dork and get every issue delivered direct to your door anywhere on the planet.
CONTACT PRIVACY ADVERTISE

© 2018 The Bunker Publishing