Kweller, Ben : Sha Sha

...a solo charm assault with mixed results....

On the sleeve, Ben stares blankly at us while cleaning his teeth. Here is a young man clearly keen on doing two things at once. Having split former band Radish and supported everyone from Wilco to [a]Eels[/a] already, this 21-year-old, Brooklyn resident embarks on a solo charm assault with mixed results.

When he keeps it simple, on the beautiful ‘Family Tree’, ‘Lizzy’ and the tumbling, piano-down-the-staircase ballad ‘In Other Words’, he’s nothing less than the new Todd Rundgren on slacker pills. Too often though, as on ‘Wasted & Ready’, ‘Commerce, TX’ and ‘Harriet’s Got A Song’, he reverts to a swamp of guitars which suggest someone’s pushed the auto-pilot button in the control room, and Ben, much like musical mentor Evan Dando, is simply too far gone to notice. One thing at a time.

Jason Fox