Rising London-based 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 sure; 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.”
Sink Into Me‘s third and latest single, the lush “Make Me Wanna” is centered around a glistening production featuring buzzing and swelling synths, boom bap-like drums, shimmering guitars paired with Anderson’s gorgeous vocals expressing an aching and maddening yearning for connection. The song also features a thoughtful and longing response back to Anderson’s narrator from Brooklyn-based emcee Navy Blue. Subtly nodding at the classic soul duets and the hip-hop soul duets of the 90s, “Make Me Wanna” at its core is a sweet, and somewhat old-fashioned love song about missing that someone who may be an ocean away.
“The verses and chorus from this song were taken from two really old demos,” Nancy Anderson explains in press notes. “Listening to it now I was obviously really heartbroken but I find it hard to be direct with my lyrics. The synth swells in this song really pull at my heartstrings and when we were writing the track for this it reminded me of those lyrics and how I felt at that time. I reached out to Navy to see if he wanted to be part of the album and he wrote a verse for this song it really feels like a direct and concise version of what I was trying to say in that moment.”
Directed by Noel Paul, the recently released video for “Make Me Wanna” features Babeheaven’s Anderson taking a seaside walk to presumably clear her head. As she’s walking a former lover/fling/love-interest nicknamed “do not answer” on her phone tries to reach her on her phone — first by Facetime, which she ignores. “do not answer,” turns out to be Navy Blue, who texts her in a rapid flurry the lines of his verses, confessing his thoughts. She eventually answers, listens to Navy Blue for a seconds and with a bitter smile, tosses her phone into the sea.
I’m not sure if I’d do that. But I think we all can get the sentiment — heartache, frustration, longing and exhaustion rolled into one confusing yet familiar ball.
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