Squeaky voices are go Pop
IN TERMS of career acceleration, Babylon Zoo might appear to have gone from nought to hyperspace drive in seconds. Spaceman five weeks a British chart-topper and now scaling international summits is, we're told, the biggest-selling debut single of all time. Amazing what a pair of jeans can do, as long as the magic legend "Levis" is on the back.

In truth, 24-year-old Jas Mann had been trying to get a licence for his Zoo for years, having first signed with EMI in 1992, and some would say that a multi-million pound advertising campaign such as the one by Levis using his song could make a hit out of anything. But that would be to underrate the momentum of Mann's own aura, especially as the commercial has not been shown on television since December.

But as Babylon Zoo, now available in handy live format, took the stage at a packed LA2, the question was clear. Is Spaceman the final frontier or can he/they conquer new civilisations? The audience was curious in more than one sense, being made up of pubescents of both sexes, but also of industry types and older men and women. An audience, ultimately, of potential and actual jeans-wearers.

At 9.30pm, Babylon Zoo emerged from behind a curtain that had borne cod sci-fi proclamations such as "I Am Invisible" and "Intergalactic Christ". Playing their trump card immediately, it was straight into the mega-hit, confidently reproduced by a conventional band line-up: even intergalactic beat warriors need earthbound instrumentation.

Mann opted for vocal distortion throughout, but beneath it was a commendably live spirit as the band gave a game account of the entire The Boy With The X-Ray Eyes album. A generation that never heard Bolan nor knew Bowie's golden years screamed its approval of the punkish I'm Cracking Up I Need A Pill, the forthcoming second single Animal Army and the album's title song, which would be a more appropriate sequel.

All the while, the performance was steered by the resplendently mediagenic Mann, who mugs brazenly for the camera even when the red light isn't on. At precisely 10.06 they were off again and, even with a couple of encores including a reprise of Spaceman were still back in the pod not long after. Not the bargain of the weekend perhaps, but the captain's log will still record a satisfactory first meeting with the pop-pickers of Planet Earth.

20 Feb 1996: The Times - Page 37 - (393 words)
By: Paul Sexton

This article was submitted to Babylon Zoo Online by accadia. Thanks!

Other Information
Jas, fully named 'Jasbinder', was born in Dudley in the West Midlands on the 24th day of April 1971

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