The Babe Rainbow – Double Rainbow
The Babe Rainbow broaden their range on Double Rainbow.
Double Rainbow is the wholesome follow up to The Babe Rainbow’s 2017 self-titled debut. This time ‘round the Byron hippies pick up a few new instruments to forge an even stronger collection of catchy psychedelia. While it’s not a massive step forward from their first album, the band cover more ground on Double Rainbow, extending their brand of ‘60s-influenced psychedelia, combining facets of swinging rock ‘n roll, groovy blues and a touch of Ravi Shankar-esque sitar. And, ultimately, the extension of sound plays to the groups favour.
Since springing onto the scene with 2014’s ‘Love Forever’, Babes have shown obvious influences from groups like The Beatles and The Beach Boys. On Double Rainbow, they’re reaching further into their ‘60s – and even late ‘50s – record collection. That late ‘50s influence is felt on the aptly-titled ‘Darby and Joan’. The rock ‘n roll/country-infused track is a reference to archetypical elderly couples living their retirement quietly. It’s an old-school sounding track with an old-fashioned reference. And though album closer ‘New Attitude’ is a laid-back, bluesy affair, offering something different from the group, the track’s dusty electronic piano emits big Doors vibes, providing Babes’ chill ‘60s psych with a… new attitude!
Speaking of gear, the vintage keyboard on ‘New Attitude’ isn’t the only instrument debuted on Double Rainbow. A peculiar synth adds some pizzazz, quietly wobbling in the background of opener ‘The Magician’ and memorable lead-single ‘Supermoon’. While it’s not the first time we’ve heard it on Babes’ records, the sitar is welcomed back with starring presence. The Indian string instrument steals the limelight on the two final tracks of side A: ‘Eureka’ and ‘Alan Chadwick’s Garden’. Released as the second single of the LP, ‘Eureka’ sees the sitar floating and sliding above a funky bassline throughout the beginning. The chorus – “Greggo, Greggo, Greggo / Where’d you go?” – will be trapped within listeners’ minds for days.
Following the sitar-centric side A closers, side B offers a conflicting style for Babes’. In contrast to the buoyancy of side A, side B is more poised and relaxed. Though, it’s certainly no blight on the album. The smoky, flute-filled ‘Bella Luna’ and kooky circus love-song ‘Running Back’ are Double Rainbow highlights, even without the immediate joy of side A’s ‘Supermoon’ and ‘Eureka’.
The weakness with Babes’ debut album is that its quality diminishes in the latter stages of the record following the single-packed first half. That’s not the case with Double Rainbow. Its quality doesn’t wane. The album’s strong throughout its entire duration and a is a much more polished effort than the first.
‘Supermoon’, ‘Eureka’ and ‘Running Back’