Babel
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Babel

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"BABEL 'Crooked Timber'Clash Mag"

Bristolian sextet Babel maintain the momentum started by last year's mini-album ' Pearl Street Raga' with their first long player. At times their folk infused melodies bring back memories of early REM, elsewhere a suggestion of a fuzz-free Black Keys. The songs and the stories told paint pictures of drinking cider, hating school and wondering with apprehension what to do next - the very circumstances under which bands like Babel are formed. Apparently the album represents a search for the "essence" of things. It may fall slightly short of such lofty ambition, but it is a footstep in the right direction, and as an album of inventive, touching and triumphant pop songs, it is a true success.
(Gary Cleland) - Clash Magazine (Oct 2008)


"Babel 'Crooked Timber'Rock Sound review"

Kind of at the further reaches of Rock Sound's remit this, but just because Bristolian collective Babel don't kick out their jams hard doesn't mean they can't move you. Oh, sure the likes of 'Make Your Bed' and 'Never Had The Heart' shuffle up a little dust, the latter sounding like Page & Plant may have helped out in the studio somewhere, but opener 'Apple Crack' has a bluesy, back-porch vibe, 'End Of The Line', drenched in cello and melancholy, is a proper hymnal thing, and 'Rubbernecking' is so delicate it feels like it could crack and break at the slightest touch. Soft and subtle then, but emotional and effective too.
Quietly ace.
(Simon T Diplock) - Rock Sound Magazine (Oct 2008)


"Babel 'Crooked Timber' Epoch review"

Natives of Bristol, but sounding like across between an Appalachian folk band and a down home desert blues troop, Babel manage to carry off their cultural transplantation by being fine exponents of their art. The rich vocals of Danny Coughlan call to mind Jeff Buckley, and the band's closest brethren may well be Calexico whose influence weighs heavily over 'Hand Me Down'. However, listing the obviously influences on this band would not do justice to the haunting quality of 'Seachange' or the classic songwriting on 'Cellophane, Jam or the Line'.
A fine debut.
(Patrick Healy)

- Epoch Times October 2008


"Babel, Glastonbury Festival 2008 review"

Babel: Queen’s Head Stage - Saturday

ONE band who probably weren’t all that bothered about the weather – for the duration of their set at least – were Babel. The already substantial Bristol contingent of fans upfront were swelled considerably by people driven into the Queen’s Head tent by the rain. But if some of them had come in for the shelter rather than the band it looked as if they’d been won over, as the mid-section of the crowd were unable to restrain themselves from dancing during the more raucous tracks.

Singer Danny had dressed for a much posher occasion than playing in a muddy field, dapper in a very smart shirt and trousers, but he still sang with the raw intensity that Bristol’s gig-goers are already familiar with. The sound was a little bit muddy for the first few songs, with the bass threatening to overwhelm the violin and cello that are such an intrinsic part of Babel’s instantly recognisable sound. Oddly for someone with such a crystal-clear singing voice, Danny is considerably less distinct when he’s talking. He has a frustrating habit of saying, “This song is called..” before mumbling incoherently, meaning that the names of his songs remained a bit of a mystery. One song title that wasn’t in any doubt though was the (unfortunately very apt) Rain, a lively crowd-pleaser with Spanish rhythms, which was followed by the downtempo Police Car.

The Queen’s Head stage was organised by music magazine Q, and the line-up this year ranged from well-established bands like Elbow to much-hyped younger bands including White Denim. It was fantastic to see one of Bristol’s finest bands among them and proving their worth with a performance that surely won them more than a few new fans.
(Helen Sloane)
- Bristol Evening Post


"Babel 'Pearl Street Raga' Telegraph review"

Bristolian sestet Babel are a very splendid thing, like a cross between Led Zep III, Rufus Wainwright and Midlake. This nails their jangly-English-hippy-folk meets cool, arid country meets slightly fey, dreamy melodic pop pretty exactly, except thankfully they're missing Wainwright's high-camp sleaze annoyingness.

My own real quibble with this record - which you will love - is its measly seven-song length. Mini-albums are as irritating as novellas: just when you're getting into them, they end.


- Sunday Telegraph (Sept 07)


"BABEL 'Pearl Street Raga' The Sun"

Adding some soul, style and a twist of psychedelia to the current folk boom are six mighty fine musicians from Bristol.

On their debut mini-album, Babel show bucketloads of promise - vocally, lyrically and musically.

By adding violin, cello and accordian to the basic guitars/percussion, they create full, warm settings for Danny Coughlan's yearning vocals.

It begins with the playful title track, which sounds both timeless and modern, but it's slow burners such as Daylight Lost and Shangri La that leave the lasting impressions.

The biggest downside is that, with just seven tracks over 28 minutes, you're left hankering for more. Watch this space.


- The Sun (Sept 2007)


"Crooked Timber NMEReview"

Batten down the hatches everybody with Bristol based five piece Babel, folk has grown muscles. They might not be very big muscles but Babel have an assuredness that's just cocky enough to be attention grabbing and just handclappy enough to make your guts go gooey. 'Make your bed' is a ballsy, stompy hoedown given soul by its delicate strings, while singer Daniel Coughlan's half-mumbled vocals sound like a countrified Rufus Wainwright. When the album slows down, it's by turn quietly heartbreaking('Police Car') and spine-chilling ('Seachange'). But it all comes to a rambunctious head on the glorious call-and-response closer 'Hard to Love You'. More heart then brawn ,then, but heart is what matters. Tara Mullholland - NME 7th Feb 2009


"Crooked Timber Q Mag review"

Adding cello and violin to the usual guitar band set up Babel's world is one of acoutic-ish folkn'roll riffs replaced by the sweep of strings and swish of a drummer's brush. The Bristol sextet are based around singer songwriter Danny Coughlan, a kind of optimistic misanthrope: the people in his life seem to be one long list of bastards, but he loves it, bemoaning the loss of individuality and railing against the bullies, former lovers and authority figures who connive to take away what little we have left. The Coral, The Smiths and even The Stranglers skirt around the edges, but ultimately Babel sing their own unique and uplifting song. Andy Fyfe Q Magazine - Q Magazine March 2009


"Crooked Timber Mojo Review"

Outstanding full-length debut by the Bristol six-piece. Babel have a freewheeling and eclectic approach to folk and pop reminiscent of Fleet Foxes. But Crooked Timber is clearly more West Country then Western Seaboard, its tales of dystopia and dysfunction including the cider casualties of 'Apple crack'. Babel write some terrific tunes, with unexpected twists, with vocalist and guitarist Danny Coughlan's charismatic voice a curious mix of Devendra Banhart, Thom Yorke and Buckleys Tim and Jeff.
The groovy, swinging 'Cellophane, Jam or the Line' nods in the direction of Pentangle, then unexpectedly shifts key with the group's mini string section of violin and cello coming to the fore. 'Piece of me', with its revved up guitars must be the most exultant song ever written about physical and mental degeneration, while on 'Police Car', a tale of a relationship gone off the rails, a poignant vocal melody sugars the pill. Mike Barnes - Mojo Magazine March 2009


"Crooked Timber Uncut Review"

Fine second from Bristolian roots rockers. Proof that geography is as important as timing in rock'n'roll comes in the shape of Babel's remarkable second album. Had singer Danny Coughlan been raised on a back porch in Alabama rather than studied art at Canterbury you suspect that he'd already be sharing podiums with Fleet Foxes and Midlake. If the string laden fusion of acid folk, roots rock and blistered blues comes with a punk like intensity, the lyrics are equally forthright, tackling issues ranging from bullying ('Trinity Thugs') to genetics ('Pice of Me') to motorway etiquette ('Rubbernecking'). Paul Moody - Uncut Magazine March 2009


Discography

'The Golden Acre EP', 2005 (self-released)
'The Arc EP', 2006 (self-released)
'Pearl Street Raga' Mini Album, 2007 (People Tree Records)
'Crooked Timber', 2008 (People Tree Records)
'Make Your Bed', early 2009 (People Tree Records)

Photos

Bio

We are Babel.
That’s ‘Bay-bull’. Not ‘bar-bell’ or ‘babble’.

Born in Bristol, England, Babel started out all folksy and a bit shy but then fell in dirty love with pounding tambourines, unsettling strings and volume knobs. Some now call it ‘folkabilly’, Uncut magazine named it “spine-tingling electric-folk” whilst the Sunday Telegraph went with “..a splendid thing, like a cross between Led Zep III, Rufus Wainwright & Midlake”.

We say we don’t really know. Whatever it is, it’s the kind of band we wished we were in and like the record we wished we all owned.

October 2008, saw a limited teaser release of the brand new album ‘Crooked Timber’. Shaped by months of blistering live shows, it’s harder, faster, sweeter, darker. Reviews descibed it as "an album of inventive, touching and triumphant pop songs" (Clash Magazine) and "quietly ace" (Rock Sound Magazine).

The 2007 release of the debut ‘Pearl Street Raga’ mini-album attracted some glowing reviews from the national press and as a result support slots with Fionn Regan and Amy Winehouse followed. 2008 saw Babel take the rain on face-to-face at the Glastonbury & Green Man festivals and came out unscathed & unelectrocuted.

UK tours in late 2008 and early 2009 will support the release of the single ‘Make Your Bed’ and the full release of album ‘Crooked Timber’.

Find us at www.myspace.com/babelbristol

Thank you.
(and thank you Canada for Mr Geddy Lee)
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