I’ve just received a copy of the new Babybird album, ‘Ex-maniac’ in order to review it ahead of its release in March. So far, so good. I really like Stephen Jones’ music and I own quite a lot of it. However, every time I think about this fact it makes me feel as if I should be shocked by this – as if it’s somehow wrong. And we all know why. That bloody song. It is absolutely unbearable, sub-standard, directionless shite. It may not have seemed that way if I’d heard it ten or fifteen times but it was everywhere for months and I truly learnt to hate it. It remains one of the few songs that can make me change channels when listening to the radio. And yet, pretty much everything else he’s ever done appeals greatly and his plodding singer-songwriter sound is something I find rather charming.
This new album doesn’t seem to be a radical departure. Or even a departure. But it’s all rather nice. Today’s SotD is one of his very best and it’s a song that always astounds me each time I hear it. For the same reasons outlined above, it’s hard to believe that Babybird can be the act behind such an affecting track and yet here’s the proof. ‘Back Together’ is a charmer from start to finish. When the first burst of the chorus comes in after the swelling strings it’s simply magical.