Casey Nugent ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Fans of Sylvan Esso might get a bit of déjà vu when listening to “Heaven,” the first single from West London synthpop group Babeheaven. “Heaven,” currently streaming on Bandcamp and available for preorder through the Bandcamp website, definitely evokes the style of bands that came before it, failing to stand out as its own sound and define Babeheaven as their own group.
“Heaven” has all the markers of a classic synthpop track—smoky female vocals over a dreamlike synth rhythm, backed by a minimal drum track so that audience members can sway their hips to the beat, but in a slow, mellow way. What it lacks is something new, although there are hints of what Babeheaven might be able to offer in the future. The most interesting bits of the song contain what appears to be an island influence. Something that sounds like a steelpan beats out a few notes in the middle of the song, and although “Heaven” never directly goes that route, it opens the door to hope that Babeheaven might be indulging in in a more Caribbean sound in future tracks, which would absolutely set them apart.
Lyrically, “Heaven” has potential that falls unfortunately flat. The song was inspired by the death of the lead singer’s mother, and according to Babeheaven’s Bandcamp page has since evolved to be about the barriers we put up and break down in front of other people. Any emotional interest or impact that the story might provide is lost in the production of the song, however. The echo effect used on the vocal track makes the lyrics incredibly difficult to understand throughout the song. That being said, what can be understood seems to be basic songwriting at best—“free” is rhymed with “believe” in the first lines of the song, and the poetry doesn’t get much better after that.
“Heaven” is a disappointment for fans looking for something new and exciting in the synthpop world. It retreads a lot of steps in music and production that we’ve already heard before. But there’s a chance that Babeheaven, if they do choose to go with a more Caribbean inspired synthpop route, might be worth watching out for.