Midnight drives, lazy Sundays, and long showers are the images that come to mind with Bibio’s new album, A Mineral Love. Simply put, this album is the auditory manifestation of relaxation. English music producer, Stephen Wilkinson, has always been known for his soothing experimental sound that is somewhere between folk and electronica, and A Mineral Love is no different. For those who are unfamiliar with Bibio he is the type of artist to spend a rare sunny English afternoon recording the sounds from various garden tools and transform them into a beautiful symphony of pings and clanks. In his songs he uses a range of simple musical ideas but executes them so well you keep coming back for more.
The first half of this album flows perfectly by taking elements from earlier songs and connecting them seamlessly to one another. Although certain parts can feel too emotional and almost sappy at times, especially with song “The Way You Talk,” everything fits together. Stylistic elements from funk and R&B are sprinkled with synth and sax lines into a pulsing groove with the song “Feeling”. This song stands out from the others as something fresh and unique. The second half of the album however begins to lose consistency with the musical ideas that were initially put in place. Although there is nothing wrong with each individual song, you get the feeling the he is trying to spread himself too thin with different genres of music. The album tosses you back and forth between funky house beats, soulful R&B, and simple guitar noodles. There lacks one general theme and the album can become difficult to follow.
There is only one track that seemed like the album would have benefited from being removed altogether. The high hat beat in “C’est La Vie” comes off as sluggish and almost off beat. You spend the entire song wondering if the song is going to get any better and resolve somehow but it never happens. There are brief moments where the rhythm locks into place, but only for a few bars at a time.
A Mineral Love does many things well. It’s the perfect anthem for a long day trip through the desert when you have no destination or agenda. Bibio has never been known to produce mind melting thumpers, but no one has ever asked for such songs. Each piece leaves you just on the brink of satisfaction. This album won’t grab you by your suspenders and swing you around with screaming choruses and drilling hooks, but rather sing you softly to sleep. I definitely will come back to A Mineral Love every once in a while as a pallet cleanser for my normal crop of albums. If you’re a longtime fan or a brand new listeners check this album out and see for yourself what Bibio has to offer.
By Rob Hauck