Finnish dream-pop duo Babel releases their sophomore long player, Marriage, which sees the pair taking a new stylistic tack. Where last year’s acclaimed Yoga Horror dripped with dark chamber-pop, Marriage slopes into a bedroom pop milieu with hints of retro savors.
Made up of Karin Mäkiranta and Mikko Pykäri, Babel’s sound is often and easily likened to Beach House, only perhaps more ethereal and with definite influences of French soft pop.
Of the 11 tracks on Marriage, entry points include opener “Yin,” a delicate dream-pop tune riding a pulsating rhythm accented by chiming tones as Mäkiranta’s sylph-like vocals imbue the lyrics with warm, lilting timbres.
“Closer” opens on a dissonant piano, rolling into a gentle, almost pushing beat topped by fluttering colors and a lightly braying accordion, giving the harmonics a low-slung, alluring flow, almost bouncy but not quite. The rounded resonance of Mäkiranta’s voice imbues the song with beguiling textures.
Highlighted by a sparkling, elegant piano intro, “Dream” streams into layers of bright, indulgent hues, percolating and feather-light, while Mäkiranta’s diaphanous voice infuses the lyrics with carefree buoyancy.
“Lost In It” conjures up hints of Latin aromas and sophisti-pop with its plump, plucking bassline and shifting harmonics. Like Tinkerbell, Mäkiranta’s vocals project the finest of nymph timbres, fragile and wispy.
“Sanctuary” exhibits tangs of jazz merged with ringing dream-pop inflections as the whispery yet translucent voice of Mäkiranta imbues the lyrics with lusciously creamy notes. Perhaps the best song on the album, and a personal favorite, closer “Spin” twirls and pirouettes on supple, iridescent surfaces, allowing Mäkiranta to display the velvetiness and eloquence of her voice.
With Marriage, Babel proffers misty, slender filaments of dream-pop, muted percussion, and the mellifluous waiflike voice of Mäkiranta.
Marriage Track Listing:
8. Bride’s Tip
9. Lost In It
Run Time: 42:14
Release Date: September 21, 2023
Record Label: PME Records