Jean genie shakes off the jean jinx Pop
NEW ALBUMS: Babylon Zoo are shooting for the moon
BABYLON ZOO , The Boy with the X-Ray Eyes

THE phenomenal success of Babylon Zoo 's first single, Spaceman, which registered the biggest one-week sale in this country since Band Aid's Do They Know it's Christmas?, has not entirely laid to rest doubts about the group's long-term viability. Still looming in the wings is the spectre of Stiltskin, who enjoyed a similarly explosive hit thanks to a Levis advertisement in 1994, and promptly sank without trace.

However, with the arrival of Babylon Zoo 's debut album, The Boy with the X-Ray Eyes, such worries may confidently be set aside. Written, played, sung and co-produced by 24-year-old Jas Mann from Wolverhampton, it is a credible and cohesive collection of songs which harnesses a big, distorted guitar sound to a futuristic vision that is more lunar-pop than Britpop.

Spaceman, a good-natured chronicle of space-age fear and loathing set to an unforgettable chorus, has clearly struck a chord in the Britain of the late 1990s and already has the sound of a pop classic. And, while Mann's glam-rock influences are clear a sort of Bowie-meets-Suede amalgamation, adapted for the post-grunge era he has the wit to convert them into something identifiably his own and to carry the torch forward.

The mechanical-sounding production results in a lack of swing, but Mann skilfully works the angles on a narrow defined patch, weaving together dense layers of guitars on Zodiac Sign, conjuring a melancholic mood on Caffeine and hitting the jackpot with the surging, Beatles-derived melody of the title track. At his most arch, he sounds like a poor man's Brett Anderson "London town is burning/And the New York lights are laughing/But nothing, oh nothing, can tear us apart," he sings over and over again in Is Your Soul for Sale? before petering out in a croak of despair. But it chimes perfectly with the new mood of doomed romanticism that seems to be surfacing as the cheery optimism of Britpop begins to fade.

02 Feb 1996: The Times - Page 31 - (824 words)
By: David Sinclair

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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