Babal – The Big Everything – Melodic Revolution Records
Released at the beginning of 2020, ‘Frank’s Lament’ is the third of the EP’s completing the second part of the trilogy, which will be finalized with the release of the ‘(I’m Just A) Spirit In A Meat Suit’ later this year. Singer Karen Langley suffered a potentially terminal blood cancer in 2019 (she undertook extensive chemo, which was brutal, and a stem cell transplant), and she is now in remission. Because of this, the band has made the decision that all profits from this release will go to Macmillan Cancer Support. The last EP featured just two songs while this one has four, with the opening title cut being the longest at more than 9 minutes. A couple of shorter numbers then lead us into a live version of “Endless Re-Run Society”.
The three EP’s every run to more than 20 minutes in length, combining together to form one full-length album, so perhaps it isn’t surprising they are similar in style, although “The Axe” is quite different to the others with a concentration on Karen’s vocals combined with whirling synths. It makes me think of a very modern folk song in terms of its lyrics and approach, not something I would normally associate with this band. Karen is often using her voice as an instrument, challenging norms, so it is nice to hear her singing with emotion in a more “normal” manner. “Bones & Blood” starts off almost orchestral in fashion, but soon we get the jagged edge and syncopation as Rob and Jon come in to turn it into something quite different. Their music is a combination of performance art, space rock, krautrock, Talking Heads, RIO and experimentation and this all comes to a climax in the live cut which ends the EP. The three EP’s together make quite a set, certainly worthy of an investigation who wants their progressive rock to sound nothing like Genesis.
4/5 Kev Rowland