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Album Review: Sweet Baboo - The Wreckage

Sweet Baboo is an artist who I have loved for a very long time. He is one of those artists who quite simply makes this world a better place and given the state of the world right now, I can’t think of any better time for Sweet Baboo to be releasing a new album. If you are feeling lost, feeling frustrated, feeling angered (and rightly so) at political decisions that have destroyed our societies, but need some time to escape from the news, need to feel warm and happy inside go and get yourself a copy of The Wreckage, the fantastic new album from Sweet Baboo and I promise you a smile will appear on your face as soon as you drop the needle on the record, press play on the CD or start streaming. How you consume your music these days really is your choice, as long as you can give your undevoted time and attention to this wonderful album that is all that really matters.

The Wreckage is the first album Sweet Baboo has released since 2017, that’s not to say the creative genius that is Stephen Black has been quiet these past six years. Far from it, he has released two albums with Group Listening, performed and recorded with Gruff Rhys, Cate Le Bon, Ynys, Pixy Jones and Euros Childs to name just a few. Yet there is something always magical and special when Stephen records and performs as Sweet Baboo and when you hear the opening track Hopeless with its charming percussion, dreamlike melodies and unmistakable vocals, it is like putting on your favourite pair of slippers, returning to your home after a time away or being reunited with an old friend. The Worry is such a sweet song with a piano and saxophone combination to push those dark clouds away. Reading about this song it was so nice to hear that Sweet Baboo wrote this song for his son and how as a parent you want to take your child’s worries away from them. That subject matter is something that I can certainly relate to “Leave all your worrying down to me, let your mind wander be free to dream”.

Good Luck, which you may have heard by now, is a contender for single of the year (is that still a thing?). Well, it should be, we should still care about singles and Good Luck written by Sweet Baboo’s friend and incredibly talented musician H. Hawkline is a perfect cheerful pop music that makes you feel glad to be alive. Left Out The Door with its gentle piano’s and spine tingling vocals acts as portal to a different universe. Listen to this song with your eyes closed, allow your mind to focus on nothing but the gorgeous sounds you are hearing, and you will soon forget about any worries you may be holding onto.

Sweet Baboo has been known for giving us great songs to walk to (Walking in The Rain) now he has done it again. Goodbye with melodies that will transport you to a different time is such wonderful song to walk to “Head out to the seafront in any weather / When the waves are wild its even better”. I feel that I have been walking in the rain with my dog every day for the last month and this song is the perfect soundtrack to those walks. Sweet Baboo acknowledges the commitment we make to our dogs as he sings “Every morning come rain or shine / I’ll be there”. Horticulture comes at you with some mesmerising sounds that will leave you feeling all relaxed and ready to take on whatever life has in store for you.

Not only does The Wreckage see Sweet Baboo having a song written for him by H. Hawkline, we also have a song written by another Welsh royalty Georgia Ruth who has kindly donated The Waitress for Sweet Baboo to sing on this album. Knowing all that you really don’t need me to tell you that a song written by Georgia Ruth and sung by Sweet Baboo is a song for the ages. After featuring in Goodbye, dogs make yet another appearance in Herbie a song about the family dog who contributes to the song with a wonderful bark. I have so much love and respect for artists who write songs about everyday life and those thing that are important to our families. Sweet Baboo has certainly done that with this album.

The Wreckage comes to an end with the title track, a song that sounds like it has come from another time to shine a light on the world. To make the world join hands and remember that we have far more in common than what divides us. Sweet Baboo sings “don’t give up on me” during the albums closer. I promise you Sweet Baboo none of us have given up on you, and none of us ever will. The music you have given us and continue to give us is something we will hold onto and cherish for eternity.

The Wreckage is released on 27th January 2023 on Amazing Tapes From Canton Records

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