London-based indie pop quintet Babeheaven — led by Nancy Anderson (vocals) and Jamie Travis (instrumentation and co-production along with Simon Byrt) can trace their origins back to when Anderson and Travis struck up a friendship while working in shops located on the same street.
With their critically applauded, full-length debut Home For Now, the British pop outfit established a sound and approach guided more by mood than message, while thematically reflecting the disengagement that comes from years of uncertainty, fits and stops and crushing disappointment.
Babeheaven’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Sink Into Me is slated for a March 18, 2022 release through Believe. And while the album continues the British pop outfit’s long-held reputation for crating music that is imbued with feelings of loneliness and disconnection, the album’s material is rooted in a central tension: there’s disillusionment; but there’s also a yearning for growth and evolution.
Informed by the death of two close family friends of Anderson’s within a year of each other, the album explores love and loss — and the very human desire for comfort and connection. Unlike its predecessor, the members of Babeheave were able to write songs together in the studio, along with Luca Mantero, Milo McGuire and Ned Smith. “It was more organic,” Babeheaven’s Jamie Travis says of Sink Into Me‘s songwriting process, which happened over the course of six months over the course of 2020. “It sounds ridiculous but we hadn’t been able to do that before.”
Reportedly Sink Into Me sees the members of Babehaven making a huge step forward: Sonically, the band sees the band distilling their influences and coming into their own distinct style. “It was a conscious decision to move away from being a trip-hop bedroom-pop band,” says the band’s Travis. “We did that on the last album; now it was time to try something different.” The trip-hop references are still there — but they no longer dominate; rather, the album reportedly finds the band crafting a decidedly widescreen sound that seamlessly meshes elements of pop, R&B, indie rock and electronica.
The end result is an album that sees the London-based act encapsulating the past few years while attempting to make something universal. “We’re not trying to write hits,” says Jamie. “We’re trying to write good songs that people can connect with.”
Earlier this year, I wrote about Sink Into Me‘s third single, “Make Me Wanna” expresses an aching and maddening yearning for connection in a sweet, somewhat old-fashion love song, featuring Brooklyn-based emcee Navy Blue about missing that special someone who may be an ocean away.
“Heartbeat,” Sink Into Me‘s fourth and latest single is a slow-burning and atmospheric song centered around Anderson’s gorgeous and achingly plaintive vocals, shimmering acoustic guitar, glistening synths, chugging beats which propel the song forward and a sinuous bass line. While sonically the lush arrangement seems to mesh elements of trip hop, Dido-like pop and Quiet Storm-like soul, “Heartbeat” is inspired by a profound experience of loss:
“the lyrics to ‘Heartbeat’ were written on my way back from Luca’s house. We drove past a car crash, which had a blue tarpaulin over it,” Babeheaven’s Nancy Anderson recalls. “It means a fatal incident has happened, but I didn’t know that until the driver told me. I wrote a poem about the moment — because really hit me, deeply.
Later, we started a song and we were caught in a cycle of chords. It was a good opportunity to use that poem.
Inspired by Arthur Russell, the beat underneath it is pushing the words around. Like a chugging cello. But In this songs the drums go around and round until it breaks.”
The band will be embarking on a handful of North American dates to support the new album throughout April. The tour includes an April 19, 2022 stop at Brooklyn Steel. And for my UK friends and readers, the band will announcing more UK dates soon. As always, tour dates are below.
April 15 2022 – Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON
April 16 2022 – Theatre Fairmount, Montreal, QC
April 18 2022 – Royale, Boston, MA
April 19 2022 – Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn, NY
April 20 2022 – Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA
April 22 2022 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
April 23 2022 – Cat’s Cradle, Raleigh, NC
April 24 2022 – Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA
April 25 2022 – Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
April 27 2022 – Republic, New Orleans, LA