Given the runaway success of British box office smash Northern Soul , there couldn’t be a better time for Sweet Baboo’s Boombox Ballads to come along. Well, OK, the album itself has about as much to do with Northern Soul as your average EDM-loving teenager, but nevertheless with lyrics like those on Got To Hang On To You – with its references to said genre and venues like Wigan Casino- it’s sure to resonate with those aware of the style’s reawakening.
The retro edginess goes beyond that, too. From the opening, Sometimes , there’s a pared back, somewhat innocent, melodically-inclined aesthetic to proceedings that calls into mind the classic pop harmonisation of yesterday. Don’t expect things to sound particularly dated, though, instead think a timeless quality pervading every track.
And there are some incredibly strong offerings at that. Title number, The Boombox Ballad , is a broken beated number that invokes everything from Lemon Jelly’s bathtub funk to classic rhythmic soft rock. Two Lucky Magpies , thanks to its emotive and perfectly crafted string section, veers towards a kind of neo-classical, whilst simultaneously ensuring it could feel at home on the soundtrack to some musical movie from days gone by- perhaps two references that would imply old hack, but when put together in this format they scream inventive songwriting.
Ultimately, though, like a great understated film, this one is all about the clever and- at times tearily- poignant lyrics, that should resonate with anyone who has ever felt an emotion. Simple tales of love and what it means to have a companion, whether you’re in a relationship or lamenting the loss of the last one, it’s likely that at least some of the intimate tales presented here will invoke memories- recent or long past. Beautiful stuff that should appeal to a wide cross section of fans, the fact it has barely left the office stereo should be enough to convince you this one can easily find favour amongst everyone from indie hipsters to fans of old crooners. And that’s no mean feat.
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