By The Ben Siddall Band
Ben Siddall's music is smoothly well made. It's the kind of non-committed generalised hobbyist pop that can only really exist on demo CDs. There's no audience or stage where this could be presented as a desirable package of shared excitement, dreams or passion. Although he calls the project a band, band is precisely what it isn't. It's one person showing that he can make replica pop tunes in his own studio. The thing is, I don't think that they could ever be adapted to fire live ammunition.
Track one "the long run" has a light reggae beat and a wistful Althea and Donna-ish melodic line. It doesn't really go anywhere. It's "atmospheric" without me being able to specify what the atmosphere evokes. A big string thing comes in and some ambient TV voices suggest "art", but don't deliver.
Track 2 "high on you" is a big Carol King number, with some surprisingly Tamla Motown chord sequences breaking in at one point (Sugar Pie Honeybunch). But it's ersatz, surrogate, make believe, pretend, fake. And very accomplished. What it really needs is self awareness, irony, gleeful badness and a tuba solo.
Track 3 is the electro dancefloor pop tune from 1982. (because we have the synths) It has a horrid chorus line "you can't bring me into your heart" chanted like a playground taunt with a nagging non-tune.
Am I being unkind? Maybe. Now that we can all plug in and make real records (as predicted all those years ago) maybe we should just pass the CDs round like holiday snapshots and say "mmm, that one's nice, isn't it?" But I suspect that some of us fondly hope the National Geographic is going to look over our shoulder and say "Hey! You wanna be a photographer?". As long as we know that isn't going to happen, then I suppose it's OK. And Ben Siddall has a good feel for the genre.