Sweet Baboo, is Stephen Black, the second album following 2015's The Boombox Ballads. That album passed this reviewer by, however, the second album 'Wild Imagination' is one that will stay with me for sometime.
Baboo (or Black), how should we refer to him. His twitter handle is Sweet Babs, a nod and a wink to national treasure to Barbara Windsor, yet Baboo is a multi-instrumentalist who has summoned up a mixture of American and British sunshine music to make a statement with his sophomore effort.
He calls this album one that represents the joys of travelling and returning home, the lead single 'Wild Imagination' has an end of the pier feel with its harpsichord bursting from the outset (not too dissimilar from Metronomy's 'The English Riviera' and whilst you may laugh at such oldy-worldy instruments the music is heartfelt and romantic in spades.
Some standout tracks are 'Pink Rainbows' and 'Clear the Blue Skies' which show the influence of people from Pet Shop Boys to the Beach Boys and ELO, whilst 'Hold On' with its hooky bass tips a funky hat to Prince's earlier work.
Much like his fellow Welshmen, the Super Furry Animals there is that mixture of psych-pop and experimentia whilst still being injected with a classic song writing streak such as 'Badminton' with it's catchy lyrics and reminisces of youth 'I hope I am lucky, and some of this misfortune carries on'.
The last two songs are somewhat tongue-in-cheek with its tracklisting from #9 'Humberside' embracing Richard Hawley to the sign off 'Californ-i-a' which, well we would all like to move there.
Throughout the album there is a real energy that comes out of the speakers, it makes you smile and makes you glad that such a thing as happy music still exists.
An album full of influence but all the richer for it, rather than one that shows a lack of ambition. For Sweet Baboo the clear blue skies are the limit.
Wild Imagination is released from Moshi Moshi on 2nd June
My thanks to One Beat PR for the listening link