Remember when producer/singer duo Groove Theory (comprised of singer, Amel Larrieux and producer, Bryce Wilson) ruled the charts for the summer of 1995? “Tell Me” was the perfect, steamy butterfly love ballad. Fast forward 20 plus years and you have Lion Babe. The duo consists of vocalist Jillian Hervey (daughter of former Miss America, Vanessa Williams) and super producer Lucas Goodman. Their self titled debut EP was released at the end of 2014. The duo has now returned with the debut full length LP, Begin. Lion Babe’s music can’t be boxed in one category. However, I like to think of them as eclectic supersonic bass funk.
Begin roars loudly straight out of the gate with “Whole”. Jillian tells her man that he should consider himself lucky. She usually doesn’t take this kind of treatment from a man. So, it must be love then. Right? “Jump Hi” features a memorable verse from Childish Gambino (the album’s only featured artist). This song has a strong Erykah Badu vibe. Just rewind back to her underground hit, “Jump Up In The Air” with Lil Wayne. “Wonder Woman” is a crazy, sexy and cool warning of Jillian’s feminine superpowers.
“Impossible” is a fast paced, dance track that sounds like an instant radio hit. The song has a groove that makes it impossible to sit still to. This track sounds like one of the good songs Fergie wishes she recorded first. “Stressed Out” is a heavy bass driven reminder for us all to take it easy. The sensual production and seductive vocals on “Satisfy My Love” are a match made in heaven. Jillian opts for a lighter, more airy tone here. She challenges her lover to be original in his approach. “On The Rocks” is a suggestive invitation to make a move. This is one of the most memorable songs from the album.
“Jungle Lady” is one of the few songs from the EP that also appears on Begin. Jillian’s voice sounds slightly intoxicated here, as she purrs about being the perfect woman of the jungle. However, she isn’t afraid to stand up for women with extra curves. “Got Body” is a bold declaration that states, “I got body, no matter what I wear”. “Everyday Life” is the perfect cure to life’s hangovers. Here, Lion Babe opts for a message to help deal with life’s many ups and downs. “Treat Me Like Fire” is as much of a cautionary yellow light as it as a glaring green one. Her vocals have a deep southern drawl here, as she plays with the idea of being more than just a tease.
“Little Dreamer” is a gentle lullaby that closes out the album. Lion Babe reminds us to still believe in magical things, amidst a subtle guitar backdrop. There is nothing about Begin that says “first time”. In fact, Lion Babe’s full length debut sounds like the crafted work of a veteran artist. Their melodies are tight. The vocals are syrupy and crisp. Oh and let’s not forget the stellar production. Something tells me that once these lions are out of the cage, no one will be able to contain them.
Check out some of the music from Begin for yourself.
Also, here’s Lion Babe’s latest single, “Rockets” featuring Moe Moks. This one is not featured on their album.