OTW #485: Lion Babe

Fierce R&B singed with soul
OTW #485: Lion Babe

Just like the city that bore this duo, their sound is a cultural melting pot. It’s heavily driven by the influences of Lucas Goodman, one-half of Lion Babe and main knob-twiddler. “’70s soul, ’90s hip-hop, glam and psych rock, dub and reggae,” reels off Lucas, reversing his eyes to look backwards in his mind, before getting down to retro-specifics; “Funkadelic, Wu-Tang, J Dilla, T Rex, Hendrix, Lee Scratch Perry.”

Whilst Lucas might feel at home polishing the reverb on his hi-hats or crate-digging for lost samples of the ’60s, Jillian is the performer, the stage junkie. Clad with mane-like hair and full on lycra, she’s like a gold-dipped Kate Bush from the Kalahari, with pitch-perfect pipes and a Badu-ist delivery. Starting as a dancer and visual performance artist, she had sang little aside from high school a capella until meeting Lucas. “[This is] my first project as a singer/songwriter,” she begins, “the first beat he gave me was ‘Treat Me Like Fire’ and after we made that, we thought it would be best to keep going.” Her response to that beat was to fire back with soul. Neo-soul, with splashes of R&B, creating a sound that is danceable, nostalgic and lyrically flammable.

The latter track is one of the only fully mastered releases to surface yet from Lion Babe, but even in that song alone the potential is titillating. It was enough to grab our attention, and get Solange Knowles praising their track to her million strong Twitter mob. So with mixes and an EP on the horizon, we wait like a quivering pronghorn... for the aggressive advance of Lion Babe.

Words: Joe Zadeh
Photo: Dom Smith

Where: New York
What: Fierce R&B singed with soul
Get 3 songs: Tough with only one available, but try side-project Astro Raw.
Unique Fact: The hair is fake, hand-crafted by stylist Chuckie Amos.

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