Review: Benjamin Shaw – 5 Songs

It’s not often I really enjoy ‘acoustic’ music. Superman Revenge Squad is one example and this is another. We ended up on the same bill last month and I caught some of his act (one man and a guitar) as you can at a gig where everyone else is LOUD and electric and the audience are expecting that. All I really remembered was him playing tuning pipes as a mouth organ.

The CDs a bit of different prospect, each track containing a lot more than just acoustic guitar and vocals, including strange noises and weird spun out moments of quiet noise. Probably the closest and laziest comparison would be to Elliott Smith, and certainly the second track ‘twisting turning killing learning’ owes more than a nod to Smith’s work; but Benjamin’s vocals are very much his own, closer in style to Nick Drake’s, and this gives him very much his own sound.

‘When I fell over in the city’ starts with a cheesy drum machine that I almost wished would be the basis of the entire track but it still heralds a faster, poppier sound than the rest of the CD. It doesn’t feel out of place either, just sets off the other tracks nicely. The closer, ‘HULK’, is just that: a monster of a piece, almost nine minutes in length, a large section of which is a dreamy fade out of synths and sounds.

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