Sweet Baboo - The Wreckage
Cradling an uncomplicated guitar, a man in trousers of artful proportion pours tender tales into your ear. Plucking nylon strings as he sings of waitresses who gaze through checked café windows, weathered fishermen who cast lines under blue-grey skies, and beloved, untameable dogs who stretch their long legs too far from home, is the enigmatic Sweet Baboo: musician as mirage, great beautifier of the mundane; each of his songs an ode to the tragedy and the comedy and the magnificence of life’s minutiae, momentarily appreciated before the world goes spinning on.
Despite several years of contributing to the recorded and live pursuits of other musicians (among them Gruff Rhys and Cate Le Bon) — as well as the release of two albums with Paul Jones under the duo’s acid-ambient piano and clarinet project Group Listening —The Wreckage is Stephen Black’s first output as Sweet Baboo since 2017.
Determined to reconcentrate his energies on his solo music and beholden only to himself, Black took a sledgehammer to the Sweet Baboo foundations; picked through the bricks; turned them over in his hands and mind, and mortared them back together in an unwieldier, more sculptural shape. Resultantly, The Wreckage is a work of quiet idiosyncrasy; surreal and sidelong observations unassumingly wrapped in the mist of a viscous voice and lush, otherworldly instrumentation.
Black took to StudiOwz, Clarbeston, Pembrokeshire, with a band of well-established collaborators (Paul Jones of Group Listening on various keys; Jodie Marie and Georgia Ruth on additional vocals; Davey Newington of Boy Azooga on drums and percussion, Huw Evans, aka H. Hawkline, on bass and electric guitar; Black’s dog Herbie on woofs). Georgia Ruth contributed the lyrics to cinematic ballad ‘The Waitress’, which undulates like waves in a Spring tide, and Evans gifted the album ‘Good Luck’ — bouncy riffs and xylophones bending around the magical potential of if condensed within a lottery ticket. The record was recorded, mixed, and arranged (jointly with the band) by the multiple-Mercury-award-nominated Jimmy Robertson, noted for his work with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Anna Calvi, and Late of the Pier.
Release Date: 27th January 2023
Format: LP or CD
Label: Amazing Tapes From Canton
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