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Breathing Tornados

[a]Ben Lee[/a] was already 14 when he joined Sydney power-punkers [B]Noise Addict[/B]; he attracted the attention of [a]Beastie Boys[/a] aged 16 and now, at 20 with his third solo album, he's in the t

Breathing Tornados

6 / 10 Ben Lee was already 14 when he joined Sydney power-punkers Noise Addict; he attracted the attention of Beastie Boys aged 16 and now, at 20 with his third solo album, he's in the throes of a midlife crisis.



His anxiety about sprouting up so quickly is sprouting all over the place. His face may be spotty but his soul is weathered. On 'Sunflower' he laments, "A boy became a man/As he prepared himself to fail". On '10Ft Tall', he worries about the ageing process that has taken him away from "Ma" and propelled him into the hostile city.



Best track is the grunge-laden 'Ship My Body Home', whereon Ben mulls about dying far, far away from his birthplace... Oh the melancholy - and will he be wearing clean underpants when Ma identifies him at the morgue?



'Breathing Tornados' benefits from its synthesised arrangements, yet you wonder if this isn't to divert from Lee's morose off-kilter vocals or from the triteness, of, say, 'Birthday Song': "Drinking is just a way we keep away the cold". Really? Gee, old timer, I'll remember that. At 10ft tall, Ben Lee may baulk at the suggestion but he's still got some growing up to do.

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