If you like poetic lyrics, emotional melodies and easy listening then you will love the EP I have been listening to this week.
Being a sucker for the Passenger’s, the Ed Sheeran’s, the James Bay’s type, I can’t help myself but indulge in ‘Tear Down the Gates’ by Ben Hutcheson.
It would be incredibly unfair however to lump his music into a category as it is so different. Despite the acoustic and soft feel, the heavy drums add a layer of grit and a raw quality to these songs.
There’s a definite change in the singer songwriter stance as well in this EP, it’s more accurate to our instinct responses and more relatable than the usual analysis on love.
It’s less of the ‘It’s my fault, I am an unlovable broken soul who drives everyone away with my endless self-loathing’ and a bit more ‘That was a stich-up, out of order on your part, and I think you should be held accountable for that behaviour while I go and find my fabulous self-somebody more worthy of my doting affection’.
‘Mistakes’, for example, is not an ode to love or a cry for the attention of someone who won’t love us back – it’s far more honest than that.
It’s angry. It’s hurt, and it asks for an explanation. Are we not tired of love songs that try to tell us we aren’t good enough?
‘Mistakes’ brings the ghosts of disappointments to their knees and reminds us that actually we are OK. This is the best break up song I have heard in a while, so if your love-life has been thrown a curveball listen to ‘Mistakes’ and you will be more than ready to reciprocate.
Whether or not Ben is writing from experience I can’t tell, but a good song doesn’t require justification. When the listener can relate to the words the desire to prod into the writer’s personal life dwindles into the background of the overly enthusiastic karaoke session . . . (I hope everyone does that).
Anyway, more on Ben, he’s a singer songwriter from Bristol and has recently bravely taken the dive into his solo career by releasing his debut EP.
The songs all have their own unique qualities but one in particular ‘Unknown Artist’ is dedicated to Jamie Livingstone, someone who never got their chance at recognition. The photographer passed away and left a body of work that was never appreciated during his time on Earth. Newly rediscovered by the world after his passing, he has inspired Ben to preserve his memory in this new song.
As much as Ben sings, he speaks and I think this is a strong theme in this EP and his style. His enunciation is strong and you can just hear a waiver of his speaking voice, it makes the song, this one in particular, feel more like a story that is sung than a song.
It’s difficult in this day and age to find albums, even by the best artists that don’t have a few fillers chucked in.
And it’s not that which ruins everything and renders them talentless sell-outs, that is not what I am saying at all. But imagine a live show, when a filler’s played and the enthusiasm drops, the technique slips; it’s difficult to maintain interest isn’t it? (for audience and musician).
You go from dancing with your soul to having your limbs turned to wood; flow is important live and on a record. It’s much better to have five really good tracks than a twelve track album where 60% of the songs are regurgitated chord structures with slightly different synths… I won’t name names….
Ben has illustrated this point beautifully, his songs have feeling. ‘Come Back to Me’ has a part in it that literally sounds like looking up at the stars and thinking about someone who has left you.
This EP could be one long song, that changes movement, as well as it is a collection of four excellent singles. I have listened to it collectively eight times to write this. And as much as I could write a research paper into each piece and why it’s amazing, you would have much more fun listening to Ben than you would reading that.
He’s a cheeky charmer armed with words that can speak a thousand pictures of the lives we lead. Just listen. Enjoy.
Cheers guys, speak soon!