I’ve been eagerly awaiting an audio return from Ben Westbeech, his first record Welcome To The Best Years of Your Life encapsulates the British music scene of the last decade or so: quintessentially Anglo in terms of lyrical theme, quirkiness and the kind of multicultural (meltingpotofgenreswhilstremainingauthentic) product even the Daily Mail can’t lament. There’s not many records I could apply that attribute to.
So, I’m currently listening to There’s More To Life Than This as I’m typing away.
At first I miss the more diverse and leftfield elements of the first record and, far from sounding like a Seal album, Westbeech has embraced the mainstream.
Before I get shot down for being a music fascist, I think this the record is good, solid, dependable. It’s almost a Jamiroquai record – the bass lines and extended vocal melody intro’s are a big giveaway. It hasn’t got the level of creative impetus that set Ben up as a truly promising artist in album #1 (none of this Sound of 2011/NME Ones to Watch malarky) yet his voice remains as effortless as ever and the production is good if a little predictable.
If you enjoy the Verve Remixed series but find James Blake a little dark and unsettling, then this is perfect.
All that said, it’s nice midnight oil burner.