San Francisco indie-folk artist Baybs channels anxiety into his new five-track EP, Introvertigo.
Few EPs are simultaneously so brooding and uplifting as Baybs’ new offering Introvertigo. Featuring five tracks, songwriter Craig Jacobs (the mastermind behind the project) takes us on a journey of turbulence and distress, providing a cathartic outlet for this indie-folk artist whilst beckoning us into a world of his meticulous creation. The EP’s name is a play on the word ‘introvert’ and the medical condition of vertigo – a (sometimes anxiety-induced) sensation of interminable spinning.
Jacobs acknowledges that the last few months have indeed felt like some kind of vertigo to many of us. The cyclical reoccurrence of the fight for human rights combined with the disquiet surrounding a global pandemic (which none of our world leaders seem particularly concerned with) provides the ideal backdrop for a project based on inner turmoil and change. Keen to use his platform take this element of change that underpins his music further, Jacobs has also pledged to donate his Bandcamp funds from the Introvertigo EP to the Ella Baker Center, which campaigns to end mass incarceration and advance justice in the US.
“Would You Dare” begins the EP with a touch of drama – layers of guitars provide a thick bed for Baybs’ resonant vocal, and for the first time on this record, we are introduced to the dulcet tones of Chloe Zelma Studebaker and Melissa Russi. This combination of voices makes for a lush texture that follows us throughout this musical journey and contributes to Baybs’ unique, genre-defying sound. “Sunchild” follows with an essence of confidence for all its introspective lyrics – shuffling drums drive the track along as though riding on horseback through a dry and dusty desert.
The dark atmosphere is noticeably lifted in the third track “These Things In My Head”, providing an optimistic spin on poor mental health. Baybs sits with the bad times, knowing that the good times will come around again before long, his emotional intelligence squeezing its way to the forefront of the EP from this song onwards. Dreamy guitars feature in “Drifter”, aptly mirrored in feather-light female vocals and shimmering synths. Jacobs’ vocal sits modestly behind those of his collaborators, perhaps intended as his intermission before the final belter and title track “Introvertigo”. Moody and magical, Baybs creates a soundscape with clever instrumentation sensitive to the song’s ruminating sentiment. Melodic and lyrical hooks are a-plenty in this (arguably) most catchy track on the EP, and Jacobs concludes the journey with a soaring guitar solo and rapturous final chorus.
Now, you might feel as though you have finally come up for air after twenty minutes of listening on tenterhooks – I felt I had held my breath for far longer than advisable, in the best way possible. Craig Jacobs is a clever, clever songwriter, likely to have you questioning everything you think you know about the world. Be sure to donate any spare pennies to a just cause by purchasing the Introvertigo EP on Bandcamp, and follow Baybs on social media to keep up with his exciting future endeavours.