[Review] Babal – Who Will I Be When I Leave?

The UK project Babal returns with their ninth studio album, continuing their project of exploring new musical horizons between Prog and Art Rock. Titled “Who Will I Be When I Leave?” it was released on September 16, 2022 via Melodic Revolution Records and contains nine medium-length tracks. The opener “3 Minutes” features an intro of layered vocals and percussion that slowly morphs into a prog track that combines retro and modern rats. The intricate rhythm section and sophisticated melodies with an almost Canterbury-esque touch and a Psychedelic feel create a mystical atmosphere that immediately immerses us in the band’s musical world. A more drawn-out rhythm section opens “Sitting Pretty,” to which guitar and keyboard breakdowns are added, taking the sound into Space Rock territory. The instrumental parts are enriched by modulations of sounds with keyboards at the centre of the sound, while the rhythm section continues its ride with a killer bassline. Softer and more melancholic “Corkscrew Rider” with massive synths characterising the melodies and a deep, pathos-laden vocal. The interweaving of male and female vocals duet very well, while the sound increases in intensity as the minutes go by, becoming darker in the middle part. In the second part, an instrumental section offers an interesting solo insert that accompanies us to the finale. “Dead End Friends” combines lyrical and reflective vocals with dilated-sounding keyboards and a solid, continuously crescendoing rhythm section. With the intensity increasing as the song progresses, it peaks in the second half with a fine solo and more heavy sounds, ending with delicate keyboard melodies. Markedly progressive interludes with a retro touch characterise “The Wolf Slips Up Quickly,” which returns to sounds with references to the Canterbury Scene with a modern twist. Continuous tempo changes and guitar and keyboard inserts are an added value to the sound, while the vocals are always very dynamic with a very personal interpretation of the lyrics. Another track with a great vocal interpretation and a refined and at times intricate sound “Made Without Instructions” enhances the compositional and performing technique of this project. The passages are full of tempo changes and elaborate textures, with forays into more modern and electronic sounds in the final part of the song. “Baby Wants Freedom” opens with a bombastic organ, then develops with interweaving guitar and keyboards and a dynamic, expressive vocal. The track alternates between delicate, dreamy parts and more intricate ones, combining Prog and Experimentation in both sound and vocal parts, peculiar and original. The longest track on the album is an epic over 12 minutes long entitled “Doors,” featuring an introductory keyboard part. The title is apt in that the keyboards have echoes of Ray Manzarek‘s own Doors style, while the rhythm section is solid and enriched with tempo changes. The long instrumental sections allow the central theme of the song to evolve with phrasing and duets alternating with intense and elaborate singing parts with layered vocals. A very well-developed and intense track from beginning to end, an excellent combination of classical sounds proposed with a modern and markedly personal approach. The title track “Who Will I Be When I Leave?” closes the album, and is also the best in duration, intense and art rock-like, enhancing both the vocals and the keyboard backgrounds. A track that ends this listening well, leaving us wanting to listen to it more times in the future. This band has its own sound with personal traits, managing to combine classic Prog atmospheres with a modern imprint. The music and vocals are always very sophisticated and intense throughout the whole album, thanks also to a very well constructed tracklist. A recommended listen for lovers of Prog sounds with influences from different genres and styles, proposed with a personal and original style.


01. 3 Minutes (06:45)
02. Sitting Pretty (06:31)
03. Corkscrew Rider (08:19)
04. Dead End Friends (04:33)
05. The Wolf Slips Up Quickly (06:17)
06. Made Without Instructions (04:58)
07. Baby Wants Freedom (07:56)
08. Doors (12:12)
09. Who Will I Be When I Leave? (03:58)


Karen Langley / Vocals
Rob Williams / Guitars, Synth, Bass, Programming
Jon Sharp / Drums
Guest Artist
Paul Smith
 / Bass on “Corkscrew Rider” and “Doors

Babal |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Melodic Revolution Records |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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