Monday, January 23, 2006

Ben Christophers - Viewfinder review


Rocketeer RRCDL001

This limited edition, internet-only record from Wolverhampton's finest is described as 'a demo really'. In concept perhaps- Ben set a microphone up to "record what came out" - but in terms of production and quality it stands alone as a record.

It features fifteen fairly short songs ranging in accessibility and style, but thematically focusing on burning suns, darkest days, heartache and tragedy. At times he could do with lightening up, but then melancholy worked for Jeff Buckely, who Christophers is often compared to on account of his guitar sounds and wide ranging voice.

Viewfinder is a little more left field than its three predecessors. It's a bit more electronic, but still with the baroque-pop instrumentation of pedal organs and keyboards. Influences vary from Radiohead to Devandra Banhart to post-rock artists. As a collection of demos it sometimes works and sometimes meanders. It is a worthy project, and as a concept album deserves recognition. It's certainly a lot more interesting than most popular bands around, but perhaps not to everyone's taste.

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