By Ben Arthur
Although not as "cutting edge" as some of those acts currently lauded by the music press, it would be futile trying to deny Ben Arthur's talent for penning crisp couplets and catchy MOR country-blues-Americana. In fact if The Thrills were not dressed like a GAP advert they would not be a million miles from this territory?
Wandering amiably at best through territories such as The Counting Crows, The (aforementioned) Thrills, Brendan Benson and Wilco, Ben Arthur is a nice guy with a guitar, some gentle Radio 2 melodies and a great understated voice. At worst he is country chart music and the male Alanis Vinaigrette with too slick-a-production job only our American cousins are capable of.
Highlights include the delicate "Tonight", "Keep Me Around" which poses the idea of a loved one keeping his bones in the house after he's gone, rhyming "Jealous" with "Perfect stand for umbrellas", the bleak "Bloomed" and the less straight "Sight of Your Tears".
Certainly not a release for everyone, but for the mass market this has mass potential to see Ben Arthur in the "American talk show musical guest category"... now there's a genre for you!