Babbling April – Holy Gold EP
I had to visit this EP just to find out what the heck “acoustic shoegaze” sounds like. It might be fitting that the EP kicks off with the refrain of “I don’t give a damn about my reputation.” This band is going to make what they want!
It’s fairly evident that the band is adept at mixing noisy effect with organic sound during the aforementioned first song, which keeps things simple while introducing some foggy effects into the fray. It’s almost as of the protagonist of the song is struggling to believe what she is saying, repeating the refrain with emphasis yet trying to keep the noise of self doubt at bay. The follow up song, “Blighted Years” is more of a sonic adventure, at times bordering on busyness with the amount of elements they introduce. The resulting effect is surreal and paradoxically invites more listens. I say paradoxically because the feeling this invites isn’t enjoyable in the traditional sense. But I’ll come back to this periodically I’m sure.
After the uncertainty of the first two tracks, “In the Vulgate” is an instrumental track needed to help the listener get their groove back, so to speak. It’s maintains the mood but introduces a bit of fun. In contrast, “If Hearts Really Do Break” takes the mood back to somber territory with some warm tones that are still more easily digestible than the first two tracks. I should emphasize that in no way am I implying that music SHOULD be easily consumed to be enjoyable. Anyway…
“Without a Care” and “Alliances and Rifts” bring the EP to an end adeptly, mixing in all of the elements introduced in earlier songs. The EP is definitely one cohesive body of work, with much thought and care given into track order and transition and I appreciate this. Especially with the EP ender, you’re never quite sure what’s around the corner and yet nothing that happens is a surprise. The “acoustic shoegaze” descriptor of this music might imply simplicity but this song in particular is here to prove you wrong. It’s surreal and triumphant at the same time.
Babbling April have crafted a sound that is uniquely theirs. What’s to come? I could see them on a few psychedelic or stoner rock festival lineups. Maybe Desert Daze or Levitation? Curators, take notice.