I loved me some babybird back when the lo-fi recordings were out. I really bought into Stephen Jones version of idiosyncratic pop songs that veered from wild to melodic. I bought the Lo-Fi recordings box set and played that endlessly when I was in college. I also loved Bugged, Ugly Beautiful and the darker, lost classic There's Something Going on. The orchestral Back Together is one of the most stunning things ever released.
Over the years i've been surprised people didn't look back more fondly on Babybird as they did the other Britpop stalwarts. Though Stephen Jones has been making a lot of interesting records over the years he resurrected the Babybird sound in 2008 with Between my ears there is nothing but music. It was released to little fanfare but I remember being disappointed with it feeling it missed the songwriting spark of early babybird (over time i've grown to like it more). Ex-Maniac released in 2010 was worse. Though the first 4 songs were great the rest of the album seemed lost in poor production and half baked songs.
New album Pleasures of Self Destruction just came out and I only stumbled across it by accident as there has been virtually zero press for this thing and it's even difficult to find a review of it. Well I think it's great. The first great Babybird record since Bugged and Jones sounds more alive and at the top of his game here then in years. There are some obvious stabs at a radio hit again (all of them good-a few even close to being If you'll be mine/ you're gorgeous quality) but there's also some of that experimental pop Jones excelled at. Jesus Stag Night club which opens the album captures this best. Song for the Functioning Alcoholic and I'm Not a Killer are also up there with the best. Anyway I saw someome slagging this in another thread and I was really surprised as I thought babybird fans would love this.