Benjamin Mason: I Asked My Friends To Cover My Songs And This Is What They Came Up With – album review
Benjamin Mason – I Asked My Friends To Cover My Songs And This Is What They Came Up With
CD / DL
8 / 10
Welsh singer-songwriter releases an album to raise funds for brain tumour sufferers. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
For the uninitiated a quick Google for Benjamin Mason will reveal an American artist, a seventeenth century politician or if you’re lucky, the quirky Welsh polymath that records under several guises. For the sake of relevance, the latter is the one that has just released this sparkling album.
The album does exactly what it says in the title, thirteen Mason tracks covered by twelve artists (the mighty Pulco contributes twice) offers a fascinating insight into a truly fabulous songwriter but also into many artists you may never have heard of before. The album has been released to help raise funds for the Thorne Mason Trust which tries to help brain tumour sufferers in the Pembrokeshire area – a fine cause if ever there was one.
It becomes apparent very early on that Mason is a slightly off kilter songwriter. Great melodies, great choruses and very addictive indeed but there is often a quirky twist which makes his work very endearing. From the opening Oh To Be A Drifter with its folky moon stomp beat and subtle guitar blending with the often manic vocals of Pulco knit together a fascinating weave. His other contribution Untitled (It’s A Shame) points more to the avant garde sound of the Bangor man with a sumptuous vocal.
Elsewhere, Yewdrops bring you Alacazam in a Sneaker Pimps/Portishead fashion. It’s slow, lazy beat is absolutely stunning and some superb reverb effects are the work of genius. Acoustic guitars appear and disappear and the vocals are angelic. Truly brilliant stuff. Todd Tuttle And Doug Seidel perform Mumma Husk with a sound of the Deep South and dry, croaky vocals against some inspiring experimental backing.
Sheer beauty comes in the form of Ian Thistlethwaite (Dipped In The Future) and, Matthew Frederick (You’ll Always Be My Girl) whose contributions will melt the steeliest of hearts. Exquisite classical style arrangements and piano work respectively make two tracks that will make you stop what you are doing and listen intently. Lovely stuff.
Album closer, Skies Are Falling has Jodie Marie going all Carole King on us and highlights the quality of acts on this taster. If the songs alone weren’t enough to invest in this album then the charity should really swing it for you. Accomplished songs from an artist clearly with a lot to offer and a man with some very talented friends indeed.
Order the album from Bandcamp here.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.