Rock 'n' Roll Star
Every Day the Same
Hammer and Tongs
This week saw the release of Running Man, the fourth Babajack album since 2010. Becky Tate and Trevor Seger form the core of the group. Indeed, all tracks bar Death Letter carry their songwriting credits.
I haven't encountered BabaJack before and wasn't sure what to expect from Running Man. It often takes two or three spins in the player with new material before the riffs and hooks take a hold but the title track immediately grabbed my attention. It's a big, full blues sound, starting relatively slowly but soon building in pace to represent the running man in question. The drums hold the pace while the other instruments duck and weave in and out of sight. Becky Tate's voice is easily powerful and textured enough to hold its own against the driving musical backdrop. I couldn't help thinking it would make an excellent theme song for a film. An impressive start.
Coming Home changes the pace with a strong guitar riff playing call-and-response with a solid bass line. Just as the song seems to fade away, there is a sudden and surprising harmonica-driven change of pace, before returning to the guitar riff and bass line and heading for the conclusion.
Thereafter, the songs drift across a number of styles, from the funk of Rock 'n' Roll Star - very nearly rap in some parts - to the Gospel-tinged Hammer and Tongs. Despite dipping the toes into these extra-curricular genres, the overall sound of the album is remains firmly in the blues camp. The influences come from roots music, funk, African rhythms and early blues, with a few modern touches thrown in for good measure. Indeed, the tradition of the early blues is further enhanced by the homemade instruments of Becky and Trevor!
Running Man makes an instant impression yet still rewards repeat playings. The fusion of styles, fine playing and powerful vocals make for an interesting and entertaining listening experience.
Stand out tracks: Running Man, Coming Home, Every Day the Same.
BabaJack are currently touring the UK before heading off to mainland Europe. Follow their news and tour dates over at the official BabaJack website.