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Byline: Dave Owens @asoundreaction

Life weighing heavily on your shoulders? Austerity Britain grinding your mojo into a ruinous state of disrepair? Worry got you hemmed in like a tight pair of trousers? Then seek perfect escapism in the musical arms of Sweet Baboo.

In between playing and touring with the likes of Cate Le Bon, H Hawkline and Slow Club, Baboo - aka Cardiff-based musician Stephen Black - has managed to concoct another marvellously offbeat long-player.

A wistful romanticist who twists the idiosyncracies of life into something as self-deprecating, life-affirming and resolutely outre as this deserves lavish praise and no little attention.

Ships playfully fizzes in its own melodically unorthodox way, washing away the clouds and bringing the sunshine.

Sweet Baboo's quirky wordplay is enough to put a smile on your face before you even press play on this honeyed delight. The Morse Code For Love is Beep Beep Beep The Binary Code Is One One, Twelve Carrots of Love and Chubby Cheeks are some of the finest song titles you'll find adorning any cover, ever.

Pop in essence, Baboo's latest album is powered by spry electronica, exuberant brass and the originality of the musician's delightfully fey world view. It's also for anyone who fancies a psychedelic soul pop day trip to the outer limits. Tickets please!

( Adorned with youthful enthusiasm and an abrasive social conscience, The Friendly Thieves' debut track Protest Songs & Singalongs sets out its stall early.

Fired by vim and vigour, this new outfit, fronted by prodigious talent Ryan March, wallops along with the punk rock intensity of Green Day and strident tub-thumping of Frank Turner. Protest Songs & Singalongs is not so much a title as a perfect summation of The Friendly Thieves' rasion d'etre. In ths case, c'est magnifique.

( Sharing similar youthful brio and a socially aware lyrical predisposition is Junior Bill.

The new project from Rob Nichols, former frontman of brash upstarts Inconsiderate Parking, sees the teenager continue to perform excellent ska-tinged pop. His debut EP Unlock The Alleys, Free Up The Scallies was a rollicking introduction and new single Umbrella Pedestrians - a splendid reggae-roots-rocker is an ear-catching extension of this fine work.

( television & film
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 18, 2013
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