This is the second of the two albums I got for my birthday that I just happen to feel like reviewing:
Esser has been on my radar since I saw him at Reading Festival last year. Sandwiched between two bands, I was, embarrassing as it is to say, only there to keep my place in the crowd. However, when Ben Esser and his gang of happy cohorts took to the stage and started playing I was immediately enthralled. Relying on synths and percussion to create music that made the whole tent dance like crazy people was something to behold.
Ever since, I’ve slowly been collecting singles and getting more and more interested and, finally, his album, Braveface has been released. From your very first listen, whilst it’s clear that whilst lyrical prowess is not his strong point (“Felt so good just to be alone/Then you call me up late night on the phone”), Esser is not afraid of taking on genres. In the space of ten tracks, he slips effortlessly from the synth-samba of “Satisfied”, faux-blues in “Leaving Town” and pure synth soundscaping in “Stop Dancing”, stopping at many points along the way. It’s all held together with the languid vocals of Mr. Esser himself, this album is all about the experience of each track, not the band’s sound as a whole.
That could be unpalatable, but honestly it’s really quite refreshing. To have an album where every track is enjoyable individually isn’t a feat most bands could achieve without making the listener a little annoyed, but somehow it’s pulled off magnificently here. I’m not sure how he plans to continue from here, but this is an album for the moment, and that’s all that matters when you’re listening to it.