London W1 The Social

You can't watch Ben Parker sing and not think of Jeff Buckley....

You can’t watch Ben Parker sing and not think of [a]Jeff Buckley[/a]. His delivery, the way he coquettishly teases out every note, is almost identical. And, I guess, we’re supposed to regard tonight’s stripped-bare performance, as [a]Ben & Jason[/a]’s ‘Sin-i’, a gig many will swear they attended in years to come.

Where [a]Ben & Jason[/a] crucially diverge from Buckley, is redemption.

Introducing ‘Say Come’ tonight, Ben laughs that this is their really sad song, “The one your dad will hate.” The joke, of course, is that all [a]Ben & Jason[/a]’s songs are sad songs. Hell, most of pop’s finest moments have come in the form of sad songs – from Motown to Thom Yorke.

[a]Ben & Jason[/a]’s skill is to fall into these emotional depths, only to save themselves at the last moment, and return with these expertly carved, gracefully performed nuggets of wisdom from the depths of despair. And it works. Songs like ‘Air Guitar’ and new single ‘Emoticons’ are exquisite, uplifting reconnaissance missions through The Bad Times, pop music dripping with narcotic melodrama.

[a]Ben & Jason[/a] aren’t afflicted with what doomed Buckley. They will never make a record as moving as Big Star‘s ‘Third/Sister Lovers’, as chilling as Nick Drake‘s ‘Bryter Layter’. They never quite self-destruct, they always come back from that brink, never falling over it. But don’t pity them. They’re cursed to be forever winners. And they’re damned good at it.

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