Saturday, 5 November 2011

DIGITAL WORDS / Ben Carrigan "The Greatest Narrators"

Find my review of "The Greatest Narrators" HERE

Ben Carrigan, former drummer of The Thrills, steps into the spotlight with a refined and stylishly orchestrated debut solo album, The Greatest Narrators.

*Insert drummer joke here* I’m gonna go for this one: “What’s the advantage of using a drum machine over a drummer? You only to punch the rhythm into a drum machine once.” Anyway, put all those drummer jibes and clichés aside. Ben Carrigan, previously the drummer of melodious indie rockers The Thrills, has released his debut solo album; a far removal from his previous musical life.

The Greatest Narrators sees Carrigan taking centre stage with his compositional skills on an LP that combines skilfully mastered pop with filmic grandeur. Ben proves himself to be a man of many talents on an album that he wrote, arranged, recorded and mixed himself, with an unexpectedly soulful and soothing voice to boot. The arrangements throughout are rich and copious but kept strictly to pop song structures and time frames, forming three minute bursts of secure romantic orchestration.

Ballads are clearly Carrigan’s strong point as they dominate the album, but each decorated with flourishes of homely harmonicas or melancholic piano. The quivering, almost hesitant, opening vocals of Small Towns (That Heal Big City Wounds) make for a graceful and emotive starting point to a track that modestly progresses into a gentle burst of rolling drums and luxurious strings. Even during the more up-tempo moments of the album, there is a persistent and charming amount of sophistication to Carrigan’s work; We’ll Talk About It All Tonight is a brisk, light-hearted yet gentlemanly number.

The Greatest Narrators is an ambitious album, for sure, but Ben Carrigan’s Scott Walker-inspired cinematic pop is deftly crafted in its feeling of ease which makes for rewarding and tranquil listening.

Written for IDOL

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