A Third Ear for “Be My Baby Tonight”

Molesome, Be My Baby Tonight (Roth Handle, 2019)

PERSONNEL

  • Mattias Olsson, Turntables, Mellotrons, Chamberlins, Electric guitars, Baritone guitars, Percussion, Some big and very small synthesizers, Drum machines, Vako orchestrations, Speak & Spell, Electric sitar, Persephone, Vocoder, Bass Gizmotron, Moog Taurus pedals
  • JairRohm Parker Wells, Electric bass
  • Jonathan Segel, Electric guitar, Mellotron, Electric sitar, Violins, Eko 12-string, Bass, Guitar Gizmotron
  • Trinidad Carrillo, Vocals and Lyrics
  • Leo Svensson Sander, Cello and Seagulls
  • Kenny Hakansson, Electric guitar
  • Hampus Nordgren-Hemlin, Bass, Fender Rhodes
  • Per Styregard, Trumpet and Flugelhorn
  • Akaba, Vocals and Lyrics

TRACK LISTING

  1. “I Was One of Hannibal’s Elephants”
  2. Nothing
  3. Cut
  4. Destination Unknown vs. Hollywood Ending
  5. Cruise Rain
  6. Erica
  7. Casper
  8. Belafonte
  9. Las Rascales (For J. Roberto)
  10. Black Ink
  11. Bethnal Green
  12. Postcards of Cairo
  13. No Friends
  14. Frankfurt
  15. Osaka Text

On the surface, Molesome’s Be My Baby Tonight seems like one of the most disjointed albums to come across the CirdecSongs desk. But closer (and repeated) listens reveal musical clues that tie the record together quite nicely.

Spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist Mattias Olsson, the album seems like an exercise in misdirection, starting with the bubblegum pop sounding album title. But there is much more here than meets the eye. Perhaps it’s best to let Olsson himself explain. “The songs on this album come from many different places and for a long time I have viewed them as strays or orphans,” he says in the album’s liner notes. “They don’t necessarily get along, fight clean, smell nice, or even fit together but now at least I know that they are dry, warm and in a safe place.”

The statement seems accurate, as the album’s music jumps and juxtaposes not only between different styles, but between different decades. But eventually, things coalesce into a focal point, rewarding the persistent listener with its brilliance. “I Was One of Hannibal’s Elephants,” the album’s opener, would fit nicely into a 1960’s “heist” movie, complete with daring stunts, thrilling chases, and intricate plot twists. But don’t get comfortable, because just like THAT, things change, and we find ourselves in the 80’s among programmed drumbeats and synthesizers. Such is the way of this album. It’s up to the listener to keep up.

Over time, unifying themes and sounds are located as they intertwine throughout the two-sided suite (the physical release is available solely on LP, and with good reason). With effort, we can hear common sounds from the vocalists, guitars, keyboards, and rhythms. Songs which at first strike one as musical cousins are revealed to be long lost siblings, each seeking to establish a place within the family … er, album proper. And then everything comes together, and the truly exceptional nature of this album makes even more sense.

Be My Baby Tonight is an album that all but demands repeated plays.

Do what the album says.

Molesome and all things Roth-händle

#cirdecsongs

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs)

My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.

Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at cirdecsongs@gmail.com

2 Comments

Leave a Reply to cirdecsongs Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s