Lion Babe is back—and their soulful groove finds new resonance on Cosmic Wind, their second full-length album.
The eclectic electro-R&B duo, comprised of vocalist Jillian Hervey and producer Lucas Goodman, have always seamlessly combined a particular mix of soul, funk, hip-hop, and dream pop, and Cosmic Wind is no exception to that rule. But their latest offering sets itself apart with its remarkable warmth: Lion Babe still makes the most of their signature sultry enigma, but the album also explores vulnerability and intimacy in a vein new to Lion Babe's sonic aesthetic.
There are a few moments where this new earnestness can feel overwrought, or even a little silly, like how the ode-to-independence muted-disco of "Into Me" comes off unexpectedly campy, or how "Different Planet" ends up sounding more detached than it does contemplative. But these moments are far outweighed by the heights the album has to offer. Cosmic Wind dances smoothly between intense confidence and heart-rending emotion, still as scintillating as Lion Babe can be with a new fuzzy tenderness under the R&B cool. Goodman's production and Hervey's ardent voice compellingly fill out the album's world, the cosmological harmonies and loving lyrical touches burrowing under the skin on tracks like "Never Before," "Hit The Ceiling," and "Reminisce." As the elegiac "So Long" closes out Cosmic Wind, the music feels resolutely whole—even with the small ways the album falters, Lion Babe still manages to soar on their own terms. And then you listen to it again.
Matthew Apadula is a writer and music critic from New York. His work has previously appeared on GIGsoup Music and in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Find him on Twitter @imdoingmybest.
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