The first time I noticed Lion Babe was in 2012 when I stumbled across the video for “Treat Me Like Fire”. There was this gorgeous woman with this long mane dancing through the woods and around…fire. From that moment I knew that Lion Babe was going to be a group to watch out for. I’m sure you’ve seen images of the them. Jillian Hervey, huge hair, tall with an enchanting stare standing next to her partner Lucas Goodman aka Astro Raw. A man just as perplexing as he is stylish.
Earlier this month the duo debuted their album “Begin” where they showcase their ability to mix genres such as neo-soul, pop, and house music just to name a few. It’s not hard to rearrange the tracks on the album and create separate playlists for whatever genre you’re interested in. If you’re not a house fan that’s fine. Hate disco? They have something else for you too. They take each genre of music and make it their own. In essence attempting to blur the musical lines a bit.
You have tracks like “Stressed Out” and “Where Do We Go” definitely offering a 1970’s effect. “Where Do We Go” in particular pushes full force with its retro disco vibe sounding more like a Chic or Donna Summer’s track than of a modern day Neo-Soul group. However, between its pop like lyrics and the tempo this track is easily something you’d play on a Friday night before you go out.
As mentioned if you’re not into disco Lion Babe provides you with other options. Like a couple of women empowerment anthems in “Impossible” and “Wonder Woman”. You can listen to “Wonder Woman” and forget you’re listening to the same album. “Wonder Woman” utilizes both Pharrell Williams and Astro Raw to show off the vocals of Jillian. Here Jillian sounds like the soulful songstress I first encountered on “Treat Me Like Fire”. However, despite Pharrell being credited as a producer on this track it’s easily forgettable in comparison to some of the other ones on the album and some of his other work in general.
And while Jillian does provide the vocals for “Begin” it is best not to ignore how Astro Raw compliments them perfectly with his production on each track. Especially on “Little Dreamer” where the two decide to take a softer approach to close out the album compared to its earlier upbeat songs. “Little Dreamer” comes off a bit like a lullaby but not in way that you wouldn’t want to hear it on a continuous loop (because I know none of you listen to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on repeat). Here Jillian brings out notes that are harder to hear on other tracks.
Overall “Begin” is an amazing debut album whose only shortcoming is a lack in direction. I loved the effort placed on each genre of music that the duo decided to cover and don’t get me started on Jillan’s vocals which were excellently showcased throughout. Listen to any track on the album and tell me other wise. But even though I absolutely adore their use of various genres of music the album doesn’t flow at all. The stream of genre flow is lost. “Jungle Lady” and “Got Body” feel like neo-soul tracks but one track before you have experimental R&B and right before that you have Disco. I understand that the duo loves the idea of mixing genres I just wished they would have placed more effort in streaming the genres together as opposed to making hits. Hopefully you’ve listened to “Begin” if not go listen. If you have do you agree or disagree with my overall rating of “Begin”? Let me know in the comments below.