The excellent Bella Union debut from Mr Ben & The Bens. A fantastic collection of songs here, suitably lo-fi but full of super smart ideas.
After the celestial adventures of Mr Ben and the Bens’ previous issue, band-leader Ben Hall finds all the magic he needs on earth with his new album.
+ Indie version is pressed on limited white coloured vinyl.
On 2019’s 'Who Knows Jenny Jones?', Hall plotted the story of a young, shy Pitsmoor woman who returned from an alien encounter newly armed with serious disco-dancing know-how. 'Life Drawing', meanwhile, looks closer to home for its inspiration – Sheffield and thereabouts – for twelve brightly plaintive, character-driven vignettes, set to warm, acoustic, indie-folk-pop backdrops after its predecessor’s close encounters of the synth-driven kind.
A “cloudy thread of narrative” is present, Hall explains, but this time it’s left open for listeners to map routes through it. “The idea with the title is that the songs are character sketches, and their stories coalesce in a place that has a bit of all the towns in the North of England I’ve lived in. Bits of myself in the stories came out unintentionally, so I’d like it if the listener could find those semi-truths from the songs and place them into their own experiences.”
Ben Hall says: “The 'Beast in the House' track deals with the theme of an ostracised individual in a community through no fault of their own. For the film we decided to explore the idea of a witch hunt but with a slightly warped narrative - an angry medieval mob was amassed from our closest friends. The group are driven mad by mass hysteria and the focus of the narrative is towards the ridiculousness of their journey to single out individuals within their community, for something as trivial as an insect bite (whilst recording the album last summer I was actually suffering the effects of Lyme disease). We juxtapose their story with the serene day to day life of a woman who is unknowingly about to be hunted.”
1. On The Beach
2. How Do You Do?
4. Faithful Hound
5. Astral Plane
6. Minor Keys
7. Beast In The House
8. Walking To An Open Sky
9. The Wind On Spittlehill
10. Irish Rain
11. Closing Time
12. Watering Can
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Nominated 'Best Independent Retailer' at the Music Week Awards in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Nominated "Indie Champions" at the 2015 AIM Awards.