Review: Babyblu Gets Real With "2786"

If you haven’t had the chance yet to check out the dream-pop sensation Babyblu, the brainchild of musician Dylan McBrayer, consider this a moment of change. After the grassroots success of his first release, Petals, Babyblu is back with a homerun of an EP, entitled "2786". The 5-song work may be short, but is not a release to be underestimated. Beginning to end, it’s full of masterpieces that crisscross genre, going everywhere from techno-pop dripping with synth to the mellow, melodic indie rock known and loved around the world. Promising to say the least, 2786, much like Babyblu, is here to make a splash in a music scene dying for a change of pace.

“You Got Me” is a reflective head-first dive into the well-polished side of synth pop. It’s an objectively smooth-sounding track- crooning vocals float effortlessly above an instrumental that’s almost otherworldly. The song flows seamlessly into “Maybe When We’re Lonely”, an equally dreamy offering that had been pre-released as a single. It could go toe-to-toe with any song by contemporaries such as Jon Bellion, yet really holds a place of its own on the EP as a broodingly optimistic introspection on human relationships. These two songs resonate so much perhaps because they complement each other so well, playing two distinct sides of a situation to balance out two otherwise very strong stand-alone tracks.

“Same” is different because it’s such a crucial turning point for 2786. It takes a step back from the meticulously produced songs before it, instead finding home in the middle ground between a synthesizer utopia and real-world angular guitar riffs. The departure is sudden, but welcome: the change of pace not only sets the scene for the two songs after it, but also begins to show the true reach of Babyblu’s musical craft. Like a breather in a marathon, “Same” is about taking the time to reflect, both lyrically and sonically, without letting the energy lull for a second. Leading into “I Think I Found Love”, it becomes clear why the shift was needed. Where the previous tracks were at time contemplative, the fourth song is instantaneous and celebratory. It’s, at its simplest, a fun song. The summer-like vibes bring some much welcomed warmth into the bones of 2786, a move capable of winning over any lingering skeptics of McBrayer’s potential as a producer and musician.

Closing out the EP, “Smile Lines” seems almost gloomy. It opens quietly enough, but is quickly revealed to be a perfect closing track. By letting the echoing, bare-bones instrumentation speak for itself, the simplicity of “Smile Lines” is its strength. It hits just the right points to leave listeners aching with love-tinged nostalgia, and through a feat of music, sends off 2786 with quite a few chilling goosebumps. It’s bittersweet, it’s interpretative, and it’s a lot like life. That’s what has ultimately attracted such a buzz around Babyblu, and what could easily put the project on a trajectory to make big waves in the music community.

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