Babeheaven have offered up another dose of new material. Arriving in tandem with the announcement of their upcoming US tour, ‘Dont Wake Me’ follows the release of the group’s debut album, Home For Now, back in 2020, and sees them further expand their lush, jazz-infused sound.
Unfolding in layers of squeezed vintage synth and ripples of breakbeat, ‘Don’t Wake Me’ sees singer Nancy Andersen probe into the concept of home. “‘Don’t Wake Me’ is a song about feeling connected – in some ways to our belongings and some to our loved ones,” she says. “I’ve gotten to the point in my life that when I go home (to my family home) it doesn’t really feel like home anymore. So lyrically, I was thinking about the feeling of home, home being with someone you love and the positions one accumulates in life.”
This new offering is entrenched in the mellow-toned nostalgia that gave Babeheaven their breakout single ‘Seabird’ back in 2019. Featuring those same understated vocals and chorus-drenched guitar lines, ‘Don’t Wake Me’ evokes all the warmth of home while containing a seed of melancholy, which, as the track slides into Cocteau-Twins era choruses, begins to spread its roots deep underground.
But, where ‘Seabird’ overflows with youthful romanticism, ‘Don’t Wake Me’ is startlingly mature in both lyrical scope and musical arrangement, seeing Babeheaven harness and manipulate the British jazz sound that has come to define the capital’s musical output over the last few years without becoming consumed by its charms. With the dream-pop inflexions of their 2020 debut still clearly ringing in their ears, Babeheaven blend meticulously plotted modal interchanges with a quietly psychedelic sonic palette to create something that offers the promise of release without ever quite succumbing to it.
While there is something pleasantly cerebral about ‘Don’t Wake Me’, Babeheaven’s refusal to focus on their subject matter with any clarity -preferring to hide behind an opaque sonic and thematic glaze – allows the track to slide towards the realms of something I can only describe as ‘Easy Listening’.
Whereas their earlier releases (see ‘November’) had something delightfully chimeric about them, these new offerings seem a little more concrete. Yes, ‘Don’t Wake Me’ sees Babeheaven in complete control of their sound, but I can’t help thinking that their refusal to take more risks will come back to bite them. Is it possible that they’ll eventually back themselves into a corner and be forced to release dulcet-toned library-pop for the rest of time? Perhaps.