Flaunting blonde locks and pure hippie vibes, Babe Rainbow are the most Byron band to come out of Byron Bay. The prodigy of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Eric Moore and Sam Joseph, whose label Flightless Records they produce under, the four-piece ensemble continue to define the Aussie psych-rock music scene. Here is Babe Rainbow’s third studio album Today one year on.
‘Butter’ introduces the record with soft strums of acoustic guitar and a light background snare. The track is integral to the record as a whole, the meditative melody preparing to absorb the sickly positive surf tunes to come. As described by guitarist Jack ‘Cool Breeze’ Crowther, Babe Rainbow’s music is, “all in the name of positive evolution.”
A cosmic amalgamation of smooth bass and mellow vocals, ‘Something New’ is a song of reminiscence. The calming melody is reminiscent of a beach day with friends, as sunset fades into dusk and it’s time to go home. This tune is my personal favourite out of Babe Rainbow’s entire discography, solely based on its ability to elongate time and soundtrack memories of the sun. It encapsulates Babe Rainbow’s music - full of groove, sunshine and good vibrations.
The magnetism of Today comes in its ability to transport to another dimension, where mindless society, pollution and capitalism cease to exist. Take songs like ‘Us and The Rainbow’ and ‘Funky I Like It’ for example. Trippy melodies and breathy vocals transcend through space and time with no worries in the world. Prominent lyrics like, “There's us and the rainbow and everybody else” and, “I was having a hard time/ But you're funky, I like it” also feel like an extension of love, something that is prevalently special across the band’s music.
As much as Today solidifies Babe Rainbow as innovators in the Aussie music scene, the album falls short in some areas. This is the case for ‘Electrocuted’, a nine-minute track infused with Khruangbin-esque vocals and a funk beat. While the length of ‘Electrocuted’ pays homage to the psychedelic sounds of Pink Floyd, it eventually confuses liveliness with exhaustion. It’s a cold hard skip.
In ‘The Faraway Nearer’, the band attempts to emulate a jazzy Brazilian beat, though comes across mimicry. Similarly, the unwinding piano in ‘The Wedge’ quickly becomes repetitive and rule-abiding, lacking to impress or revolutionise the record.
The catch with Today is that it shouldn’t be listened to with criticising ears. It’s fun. It sounds like summer. It takes you to Byron. Vocalist Angus Dowling even odes “real fruit roll ups” as the inspiration for the record. Sure, the band clumsily mixes new and old sounds, though this doesn’t necessarily make the album flawed. It just makes it sound like a demo from four hyper-chill guys messing around with music.
Babe Rainbow’s hippie, melodic sound is a kind of acquired taste. The surfy Today wouldn’t be blasted by a cynical muso or my wog dad. However, the record’s imitation of ‘60s psychedelia can attract every lover of music, whether through critique or in marvel of the genre’s timelessness.
To find more from Babe Rainbow: