Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller

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It seems fitting that Mr Kweller's third (proper solo) album bears his own name as the title; after all he does play all the instruments throughout.

The first impression from this album is that this is a more "mature" and less edgy Kweller than we are neccesarily used to and indeed one could almost be tempted to say that working with Ben Folds has rubbed off on Kweller given the amount of piano on this album. It's sentimental and full of musings on the passing of time.

Whether or not you like it will probably depend on your opinion of Kweller and what qualities of his you admired in his previous work. The indie-pop of Sha-Sha is largely avoided here and the rockier edge of anything on the On My Way album is also largely missing. Indeed if the later idea is your ideal Ben Kweller, then only the closing track This Is War will give you what you are looking for.

Largely the ablum concentrates on a slow tempo and the inevitable conclusion will be that Kweller has mellowed which, whilst making for a pleasant enough album, does on occasions leave you wishing there was a little bit of the old fire on display.

In the end, my feelings about it are pretty similar to those that I was faced with when Ben Folds delivered Songs About Silverman. It's not a bad record by any stretch of the imagination and from a songwriting perspective it's polished and at times touching. The problem is that it rarely lives up to what has preceded it and you rarely get the feeling you're hearing his best work.

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