For one so laid back, Stephen Black has a remarkable work ethic. Since completing work on debut album ‘The Mighty Baboo’ in 2008 he’s barely stopped writing, readying his third full-length in January this year. Combined with bass and production work for Euros Childs, touring the US playing with Cate Le Bon, adding bass, guitar and clarinet to Spencer McGarry Season’s Episode 2 album and forming one larkabout side project (gumby krautrockers Meanz Heinz) and one highly promising new band (Wickes, debuting live this month), it’s a wonder that his songwriting quality control has remained so constantly high.
“I’m A Dancer/Songs About Sleepin'”, the album in question, is released by Shape this month on glorious vinyl (limited to 300, with download). The cover, one side of which is above, justifies the choice of format – it looks fantastic, kudos to designer Kirsten McTernan. The songs within take in upbeat, countrified celebrations of love and newfound companionship, boastful odes to drunken prowess and heartbroken, helpless songs of directionless loss, but none lose sight of Black’s core elements – unshakeably memorable tunes and a witty, self-deprecating lyrical turn to keep everything grounded.
As is his wont, he’s been playing these songs live for a while – the aforementioned creativity leads him to move on once a batch of songs have been released – recently, though, this has been as a muscular three-piece band with Huw Evans (H. Hawkline) on bass and Avvon Chambers (Spencer McGarry Season) on drums. The resulting country-rock Baboo, replete with almost J Mascis-like soloing, is an utter treat.
Support comes from killer math-rock should-have-beens Truckers of Husk, absent for far too long after a string of breathtakingly great gigs around 2007-08. The line-up shuffles that have always dogged them have continued, and we’re promised a new-look Truckers from this point on with Kelson Mathias joining from Future Of The Left. Old songs or new, this can only be a great thing. Good to have them back.
NB: All those booking advance tickets (see link below) will be able to pick up a copy of the new album on the night for £6.00. Those paying on the door will have to pay full whack for the LP!
Shape Function 020
Sweet Baboo / Truckers Of Husk / Ceri Frost
A celebration of the release of Sweet Baboo’s third and most ambitious album, “I’m A Dancer / Songs About Sleepin'”. The album – songs of lost love, girls, drinking and sleeping – was recorded at his home in North Wales with the help of a talented group of musicians. Rob Jones (Voluntary Butler Scheme) co-produced and the band included musicians such as Avvon Chambers (Spencer McGarry Season), Alex Williams (Islet) and his brother, David Black.
Truckers of Husk have taken a break, reshuffled the pack and are back armed with new material. Eagerly anticipated, this will be the bands first Cardiff show this year, yikes!
Sweet Baboo’s former bandmate Ceri Frost steps out of the studio and onto the stage for the first time with solo material from his debut self released album ‘Cui’. Helped along by drums, keys and a double bass, expect raucous acoustic songs about time travel, road-trips and farmyard animals. It’s gotta be seen to be heard!
7:30pm | £4/£6 | buy tickets