Baby Strange World Below Album Review
New Album to be released on 17th June
Energetic, urgent, intense, and assured, Baby Strange are a force of nature. Glasgow has been the birthplace of many essential artists and Johnny Madden, Aidan McCann, and Connaire McCann can hold their heads up high and know they are on solid ground with their new album.
‘World Below’ is the follow-up to the 2016 album, ‘Want It, Need It’ and the irony in the name of the latter is quite prophetic. After such a wait for a follow-up, there’s definitely a want and a need for this second long-player.
Pre-order the new album:
The pandemic hit many musicians hard as the normal outlets for expression were limited so the band had to look inward. They locked themselves away for a few weeks in isolation, far from the madding crowds, and created some crucial content for their new album. Delving deep into their own psyche, they have destroyed any inner demons and came out fighting with an incredible piece of work. Living in such forced isolation, necessity became the mother of invention and the band have re-invented themselves to purge their creativity and get it captured so it can ultimately expand exponentially when they get the chance to release it and play it live. There are very few bands that can replicate what they play live in the studio, but Baby Strange do that in abundance. The raw energy of the live gigs is succinctly captured and nurtured in their recordings.
Self-sufficient and self-motivated, the band are known for their self-production and the consistent continued release of singles and E.P’s demonstrates there’s no shortage of inspiration when it comes to releases.
The single ‘Midnight’ was the first taste of what was to come from the band on the new album and the crushing bass and edgy guitar was a reassuring reminder that the band had not strayed far from their roots but they have tapped into the world of analogue synth’s and disco driven drum beats.
The follow-up single, ‘Under the Surface” demonstrated how complete the band’s sound has progressed. They wring every ounce out of themselves with what is such a great song. It ticks all the boxes and has unlocked the flood gates to what could be a very profitable future. Locking themselves away to write new material, there would have been a self-imposed pressure to produce something worthy of their potential. The song’s about escaping what’s holding you back and this song is a catharsis from the paranoia and darkness within and came as a relief to Johnny once they’d finished it in the studio.
The third single from the new album, ‘Only Feel It When I’m With You’ brings a melancholic maturity and features the voice of Hayley Mary from the iconic indie band The Jezebels. There are some wonderfully atmospheric haunting moments in the song. I loved how the track listing had “Poor Old Me” right after the latest single. It’s a stand-out track for me, the guitars are in your face right from the start. It has a Biffy Clyro slant in the way the guitar plays random notes in the beginning but the song morphs into something more anthemic.
The 80’s vibe of “When It Calls” uses all the well-known production tricks of those halcyon days of synthesizers and sliding bass lines. The cold fractured spoken-word delivery of the verse matched the robotic rhythm of the main hook. Another slick subtle production. There’s nowhere to hide listening to this album, there’s not a single track that doesn’t grab your attention. If these songs were your kids, you’d be hard-pressed to pick a favourite. There are elements in every track that makes you nod your head and think, this is my favourite. There’s cross-pollination throughout the album that makes every song blossom.
The respite in “I feel So Cold But It’s Warm Outside” is welcomed but when the song kicks back in, you realise you needed that rush and intensity of the earlier mind-blowing bars of blazing brutality. “0141” is another slick number with some essential guitar licks but the overall multi-layered sound almost drowns out Johnny’s voice at times.
These songs will flourish when played live. The punchy drum and bass throughout the album is almost understated but incredibly essential to the overall sound.
The album-closing juggernaut “Midnight” is a summation of the previous 9 songs. The term all killer, no filler has never been so prophetic but Baby Strange have written a collection of crushingly creative classics. The album will be released on 17th June and will no doubt launch the band into orbit.
Baby Strange have announced a number of headline dates across the UK in May to promote their new album. Tap into their new vibe and catch them live.
BABY STRANGE UK TOUR:
13 May Aberdeen The Tunnels
15 May Manchester Night & Day
16 May Birmingham Dead Wax
17 May Brighton The Hope & Ruin
19 May London The Shacklewell Arms
CONNECT WITH BABY STRANGE: