As thousands flock to Byron Bay for Splendour In The Grass, Byron’s local psychedelic monks The Babe Rainbow look to the outside world from behind their shoulder length hair and remind us to just… chill out, y’know?
At first glance, The Babe Rainbow may remind you of that one friend that’s a self-described ‘hippy’. You know the one: owns a dream catcher, shops at Tree of Life. But by listening to the band’s new album ‘Double Rainbow’, it becomes immediately apparent that they are the real deal.
They aren’t just influenced by the psychedelic music of the late ‘60s, these guys are living in the ‘60s. Their album is so convincing, so authentic, it completely distills the psychedelic movement better than any other single piece of work has.
And that’s because, despite being a loving homage to a bygone era, ‘Double Rainbow’ still feels fresh. It doesn’t feel like a band in 2018 trying to make a ‘60s album, nor does it feel like an album from the ‘60s being played in 2018. It feels like I’ve traveled back to 1967 and stumbled upon a band performing in a hippy commune around a campfire.
But enough about the vibe. While the album as a whole is responsible for this retro atmosphere, it’s the individual songs along the way that speak to the listener. Initially, there are enough catchy hooks in songs like Supermoon and Running Back to pull you in.
Listen a little further, though, and you’ll fall deeper into the magic of ‘Double Rainbow’. In amongst the psychedelia staples of reverb-laden guitars and a million jangly percussion instruments lay a patchwork of beautiful sounds living together in perfect harmony.
So much so that it’s hard to pick out one particular instrument. Instead, the various sounds swirl together and take your brain away to another mystical place. Nice.
Yes, there may be one too many four-minute-long sitar instrumentals on the album. But where many of The Babe Rainbow’s psychedelic contemporaries find themselves getting carried away with endless self-indulgent ‘jamming’, Double Rainbow remains, for the most part, consistently interesting. It pulls you into a world of peace and love and flowers, but not one of hippy clichés.
I’ll admit, I don’t know what any of the songs on Double Rainbow are about. It’s just not that kind of album. You don’t think about its meaning, you feel it. You experience it. For a little while, you can live inside it.
Picture this: It’s a sunny morning in Byron Bay. The water’s beautiful, and there’s a double rainbow in the sky. As The Beatles would say, “There’s nothing to get hung about”. Sounds pretty good to me.