BABIES DREAM BIG is the self-produced solo debut from Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, Alan Wilkis. The album is an ambitious exercise in stylistic cross-pollination, paying homage to the soul, R&B, classic rock, and electronic music of the 60’s - 80’s.
Conceived and recorded mostly in his home studio over the course of a year, BDB seamlessly blends together acoustic and electronic textures with a little white-boy soul and slick production, taking listeners on an epic journey from the earholes straight into the heart.
BDB grew out of a genuine love for the pop music of the past. This simple fascination quickly ballooned into full-blown obsession and a mission to boil those pop classics down to their core elements: the syrupy vocals of Stevie Wonder, the smoothness of Hall & Oates, arena-sized Boston guitar solos, Kraftwerk electronics, and Beach Boys harmony. Alan set out to find his own voice by weaving these essential but seemingly disparate raw ingredients together into unique new forms.
After a little help from a few talented friends, Eric Biondo (Antibalas/Beyondo/TV on the Radio) and Jason Treuting (So Percussion), Alan is now ready to present to you, BABIES DREAM BIG, 12 tracks of booty-wiggling, feel-good, turn-that-upside-down-smile-rightside-up new music!
Love for BABIES DREAM BIG:
Instrumental Analysis: “The most 'fun' album I've heard in ages... Not only could I not listen to the whole thing at once, but it's been in heavy rotation on ye olde iPod... [AW] evokes comparisons to everyone from Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder to Beck and Lenny Kravitz. He's got a semi-retro, '80s vibe, with a synth-y feel and programmed drums throughout... even a bit of early Prince... He's certainly got his own delightful brand of music down pat."
Music Liberation: “A quite stunning collection of tracks... incredibly experimental and crosses many boundaries... Fun, chilled out, nostalgic, and most importantly something different to get your ears around."
The Forest Gospel: “Blazing guitar riffs, rubbery electronic bass, addictive Casio keyboard lines and soulful R&B vocals... Chock full of life affirming smiles and booty shaking grooves... A supremely sequenced album of hits from front to back."
Toe Taps and Spastic Claps: “The newest prince of soul... Sugary-sweet synths, blissful acoustics... Neglects the sleaze-tastic tactics (think: pencil-’stache) from other electro-soul bands, and instead lays an emphasis on pop sensibility and ’70’s-’80’s electronics... And that boy’s voice is slick.”
Electronic Voice Phenomenon: “A modern reinterpretation of 80s pop... Catchy R&B rhythms... Modern electronics... [AW] truly understands the soul found in 80s radio-friendly dance tunes. Rather than use his vocal prowess to tell us we don't need to undress to have a good time, he taps into soul's (even) older crooners, often channeling the mellow side of Al Green or Smokey Robinson... [BDB] is about recapturing the hope of youthful daydreams... It's hard to ignore such catchiness when it's presented with as much love and care.”
Souls on Tape: “I would invent a new word to summarise the music of Alan Wilkis... like newretrodiscolisousmania or mirrorballboogiepoptabulous... AW's music sounds old, but it's not - it's very very new.”
Popmatters: “Refreshingly modern... infectious Brooklyn retro-electro-pop.”
Kata Rokkar: “Most people only talk about making ‘different’ music, and Alan Wilkis just does it.”
Sundtrak: “Loved it... Sounds like a mash-up of electro synth with rock and indie with a tiny bit of soul... A huge variety of styles which I always find refreshing in an album.”
Papermag: "A tasty bouillabaisse... will put a boogie in your step, no doubt."
Sheena Beaston: “Babymaking music... AW found the perfect recipe for allowing the soothing sounds of the seventies and bubbly beats of the eighties to reside in utter harmony.”
What To Wear During An Orange Alert?: "Walks the thin line between pure cheese and electro greatness...Alan knows how to craft a fine tune."
The Tape: "A mix of Beck inspired vocals, a lot of funk, some electro flair, while still being super poppy."
Perfect Porridge: "One of the stronger DIY albums to come in the mail lately... Tight hooks and catchy choruses... Has the potential to make me do my secret happy dance."
Are You Gene Hackman?: "Heavy bass, sassy vocals, and a general laid-back vibe that lasts throughout... The summer is coming - grab an ice cream cone and give this guy a listen."
Podflash: “Imagine walking down the street and finding a crate of rare 70s funk vinyl next to a box of choice 80s electro New Wave cassettes. You give these gems to a Jeff Lynne-ish super-producer, and the resulting musical cocktail might start to explain what Wilkis is up to here. Impressively written, recorded, produced, and performed by the man himself, the disc is full of tight, clean grooves that sound refreshingly unlike most current music, while still emitting a comforting, nonspecific familiarity... Whatever your flavor, Wilkis cooks it up correct.”
Be Kind & Remind: "Pure pop genius. A veritable treasure chest of fond childhood memories have never been built into a single album with such gaiety."
The Owl & The Bear: “Unexpected and accessible pop music that is consistently entertaining, with enough variety to avoid sounding derivative... At times reminiscent of anything from funk to deep soul to something like the soundtrack to Ghostbusters... Wilkis has all the qualities that make someone a household name, which is a sure possibility if people catch onto what he’s doing.”
Ick Music: “Brings an indie sensibility to the electro-pop sound of the 80’s with a huge dollop of soul... You’d be hard pressed to find a moment that is not crafted with the utmost respect for it’s influences which range from the Stevie Wonder-esque funk of “It’s Been Great” to the 50’s Motown of the tender “I Wanna Know” with nods to Prince, ELO and Nintendo along the way... A must-have for all fans of all things 80’s.”
Pirates of the Bargain Bin: "Wilkis steers a steady ship, frequently conjuring up the spirits of yesteryear to inhabit his confluence of snaps, sizzles and croons."
Kickin The Peanuts: "Catchy tracks and bop-along beats... A complete and completely entertaining album."
See You On The Flipside: "Casio-based, early 80s synth pop... Alan has a lovely falsetto voice, and his songs would not have sounded out of place on 1970s/80s top-40 radio."
Feel It: "The CD holds a consistently high standard, 12 tracks (well 11 and a twiddly bit), no filler... Unashamedly feel good music. It has a sunny disposition, it’s big and bright... Find your favourite park and don’t forget to take your retro ghetto-blaster with you - this music deserves to be broadcast!"
Manifest Destitute: "Music designed for the summer... At times nostalgic of our classic rock heroes but infused with all the fun that is a drum machine and listening to Prince... Finally, something that's like the scissor sisters for the Bros!!!"
We Heart Music: "It inspires the child in all of us."
Advance Copy: "70s soft rock/pop walking on multi-color electronic lifts... One of the best things heard all week."
Bag of Songs: "A soulful, catchy, and addictive collage of sounds of many eras... should be one of the hot party records of the year."
Schitz Popinov: “One of those impressive and hard to find 'start to finish' enjoyable listens.”
Butter Team: "A single blippy, pixelated jackpot... a dynamite debut."
17 Seconds: "A fantastic album... Gorgeous... Tunes, attitude, and a lot of fun. The joy of pop, the freewill of the honest music lover."
The Docking Station: "A unique sound of 70-80s synth-pop, classic rock, and even blues... So different and good... Pounding rhythm, poinging synths and a squealing vocal."
It's The Money Shot: "AW creates jam after jam... a total mind-f$% in the best way possible... Genius."
Indie Music Filter: "Each track jumps out in its own way. Reminds me of a bedroom Jamie Lidell."
The Fast Life: "[AW] is perfectly producing the style of music that I would have grown up to if I had been the ovule of Yoko Ono... Somehow seventies, somehow eighties but still some kind of nowadays... A musical delicacy."
You Sound Like a Robot: "Few musicians and bands that send me their music have a great talent and sound on par with Wilkis... It’s pretty difficult to pin-point. The best word to describe the album is… well… fun!"
B-Town Hit Parade: "Fun yet emotional... A tear on the cheek, a swing in the hips and the occasional heroic guitar solo. Recommended!"
Pasta Primavera: "AW comes out with his own unique and highly entertaining style... I can’t help but turn the stereo all the way up. Dang! You owe me a new pair of speakers Wilkis."
The Invisble Blog: "Somebody with great ideas, talent and nuance has been given the opportunity to express and share what's going on in his child-of-the-eighties-pop-addled head, and we are the beneficiaries."
MistaJam, BBC Radio: "Wicked... Like Hall & Oates or Stevie Wonder playing with Kraftwerk."
Cause=Time: "Crooklynite Alan Wilkis has created an album that has extrapolated bits and pieces from a lot of my favorite artists from the 70's & 80's and casually put them in a blender."
Bongo Jazz (on 'Burnin'): “Chugs along to a lo-tech motorik beat over which AW layers all sorts of seemingly incongruous elements, including classic-rock guitar riffage, sweet falsetto vocals and what sounds like a synthesized melodica. The result is both familiar and unique: Certainly, I can't think of another pop song that reminds me of Todd Rundgren and Shuggie Otis and Rupert Hine's early-'80s solo albums, all within three-and-a-half, feel-good minutes.”
A Limerick Ox (on 'Astronaut'): “A swaying melody of dreamy well-being... Glittery... A soaring, elevating, otherworldly anthem where everything seems right within reach.”
Undomondo (on 'It's Been Great'): "A lighthearted pop / electronica album... Cheerful and catchy... Lovely moog solo."
Egoeccentric: "An album that fuses Stevie Wonder, Hall & Oates, Boston, Kraftwerk, and the Beach Boys. Crazy? Probably. Successful? Surprisingly so."
Lost In Your Inbox: "Part electro, part dance, familiar yet quirky enough to be more like that distant cousin you remember visiting when you were little..."
Get Weird Turn Pro: "A highly recommended genre-crossing journey... a feelgood mix that sounds fresh."
AM, Then FM: "[AW] brings together lots of vintage or classic influences and reimagines and reapplies them... 'It’s Been Great' is what we’ve been waiting for Stevie Wonder to deliver."
Anyone's Guess: “Soulful and smooth.”
Mixtape 4 Melfi: "Best of 2008"
Foggy Ruins of Time "'Girls On Bikes' probably epitomizes AW perfectly. Slithering in and out of various styles from the hard rocking intro and bridges to the sweet melodic pop of the verses and chorus that has Wilkis declaring (with vocoder-laden background vocals singing along), 'If only I could ride a bicycle...' Then out of nowhere the song builds into an epic prog-rock breakdown (breakout?) before rocketing back to the sweet chorus... It is quite an exhilarating experience."
Etnobofin: "References a whole spectrum of pop, funk and soul from the 1960s onwards, and comes out sounding pretty darn awesome."
That Lightning Bolt Was Mine: "Sure to tear up any summer playlist."
A Free Man: “Evil Casiotone catchiness.”
UMEA Beat Collective: "Wonderful, yet powerful beats... Not electronica in the usual way, and that’s what makes it interesting... Most impressive is how he manages to keep it all toghether despite the different mash-ups in both time and genres."
KROTO Music: "Will be one of the cool sounds in pop this year... Soul tech music."
The American Scene: "A sublimely excellent album... What a falsetto!"
London, ON: Burgeoning Metropolis: "A perfect one for sitting outside, relaxing on the balcony at night and having a cup of tea... what a Flaming Lips album would be like without the acid."
The World Forgot: "Both contemporary and progressive... Reveals a depth of talent and a glimpse at greater things yet to come from this talented Brooklynite."
Local Vertical: "If you ever worry about buying an album where the entire contents aren't good, Babies Dream Big won't disappoint. Excellent stuff!"
Appetite for Distraction: "Like the lost sequel to Beck's Midnite Vultures... Something for everyone."
The Indie Dancefloor: "A real genre juggling album... 70's/80's funk, rock, indie, soul, r'n'b and so on."
The Ass Saw The Angel: "A combination of a lot of styles, mainly 70s and 80s soul, electronica and soft rock music."