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Babacar is a rock band with a definite affinity for the metaphysical world and Eastern sounds. The opening track, "Midsummer," features an Indian violin solo and soft female vocals. And one of the highlights of the record is the third track, "Mantra," which starts out with a droning harmonium and builds into a repetitive, well ... mantra. And throughout the rest of Babacar's self-titled debut album the Eastern influence is apparent in the sheer intimate mellowness and slow tempos of these songs, besides the exotic instrumentation. It makes sense that this album began at Peter Gabriel's Realworld Studios. The singer, Caroline Crawley, who plays plenty of other instruments (voice, guitars, harmonium, keyboards), formed Babacar after her main band, Shelleyan Orphan, broke up. Members include two former Shelleyan Orphan players -- bassist Roberto Soave and Jem Tayle on guitars, dulcimer, and percussion -- plus Cure member Boris Williams on drums and guitarist Rob Steen. Caroline Crawley has a very unique and recognizable voice. The subject matter of her lyrics includes all things natural, such as landscapes and fauna, and she sings softly but firmly with a thoughtless confidence. At one point on "Silence," Crawley does that strange Robert Smith, strangulated, suppressed yelp. This is the spot on the record where the influence of the Cure's sound is the most noticeable.

Babacar's first album is patient and breezy, with mostly clean guitar sounds. The track "Mesmer" does just what the title presupposes, with its backwards effects and swirly sound. The most memorable songs on this album, like "Tree," soar above a lush arrangement of smooth textured sounds. "Waiting" is perhaps the most playful song of all -- more upbeat -- and it has a very intriguing metric change and solid groove. The songs are, on the whole, pleasant and trippy.

Track Listing

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