Babes - Untitled (Five Tears)

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2015-11-01

Babes are doing the retro thing with their new album, Five Tears. But they're not doing the 80s thing that everyone else seems all twisted up about lately. No, they're going back to the 50s and 60s for the most part, with hints of doo-wop, classic country, and surfer rock mixed into their mostly languid musical stylings. And they've melded it all together into a classic breakup album. Yep, get your hankies ready, because if you've been dumped recently, you'll be bawlin like a baby to some of these tunes.

The first song, 'I Want Love' is deceptively upbeat, with driving beats and guitars, energetic harmonizing, and trembly keyboards. It's followed by the odd funhouse stylings of 'I've Got a Reason to Keep on Living', with it's off-kilter percussion and almost calliope moments. But things start their downward turn with 'Lonely Forever' and its brutal chorus: "It's gonna be lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely forever." It's followed by the barren sadness of 'There's Nothing Left in My Heart'. And we're just getting started.

From here, you get into the depths of the album when 'How Do You Make Love Stop?' rolls in. Play this when you need to get out an ugly cry. The lovely harmonizing, dreamy swirls, weepy guitar, and squealing synth will send you into an awesome downward spiral. Seriously, I'm a happily married man, and this made me feel like an angsty, lovelorn teenager listening to The Smiths. More than that, it makes me miss being that miserable; it's that good. It's followed by the equally depressing 'Come Back to Me', a desperate cry for reconciliation that almost slips into psych territory.

'Totally Out of Control' is another upbeat semi-rocker, in that low key, shoegazy way the band has. 'I Need Love' is a sweet, delicate little song featuring simple accoustic guitars and Sarah Rayne's soft, soothing vocals. It's another slow tune, but the writing and execution puts it in the neighborhood of such classics as the Beatles' 'Blackbird'. But yes, notice that they have songs titled both 'I Want Love' and 'I Need Love' on this album. They're just rubbing it in your face.

The album ends on the pensive yet hopeful message of 'Life Come Into Me', where Rayne shows off her chops again over the 50s slow dance stylings. You can almost see her standing on stage in a darkened high school gymnasium, dressed in fanciest gown, with a single spotlight shining down on her as she cradles the mic. The only thing to dispel the image are the well done synth interludes. Otherwise it's classic, with slowly strummed guitars and minimal percussion doing just enough to fill out the song.

Babes make some lovely music, and while much of it is pretty melancholy, it's so well crafted that you won't mind. Anyone should enjoy this, but if you think your relationship is on the rocks, you might want to put this album in the holster for when you need to let it all out.

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