Animal magic of Spaceman Jas
BABYLON ZOO, unheard of at Christmas, are now Top of the Pops favourites thanks to a Levi's ad that nailed their catchy song, Spaceman, to the national consciousness and helped propel the record to number one.

Could this Spaceman, like David Bowie's not dissimilar Starman, be the harbinger of a stream of classic albums that will shake the Nineties as Bowie's did the Seventies? Or is charismatic lead singer Jas Mann just another Bowie pretender like Gary Numan?

Their debut album, The Boy With the X-Ray Eyes, proves at least that Babylon Zoo are not the new Stiltskin, the band that embraced obscurity following their own Levi's aided chart topper two years ago. It opens with what will be the next single, a surging riff-heavy monster called Animal Army which could well give them another number one.

Spaceman itself then follows, further evidence of Jas Mann's gift for heady commercial pop. But thereafter the mannered vocals start to irritate, the lyrics become increasingly precious and one grinding riff sure enough follows another.

Fantastic turns to bombastic, and what started as fresh and exciting ends as overwrought, self-conscious and sometimes plain silly.

There's no doubt that Mann - the 24-year-old part-Asian, part-Native American son of Wolverhampton who writes and plays everything - is a clever lad.

But it's hard to credit his recent assertion that he has never owned a record player and has sprung into the rock arena without influence or precedent. Well, he may never have 'freaked out in a moonage daydream' with Ziggy Stardust, but the similarities between this and Suede's Bowiesque debut are remarkable.

10 Feb 1996: The Daily Telegraph - Page 9 - (666 words)

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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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