Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ben Lee: "Deeper Into Dream" (album review)

When one thinks of Australian master popster Ben Lee, concept albums are rarely among the first things that come to mind.  That's what we have, however, with Lee's latest album Deeper Into Dream.

On the album Lee explores, not surprisingly, the world of dreams.  Not only does he do that through the lyrics and arrangements, but he also includes a series of spoken word clips in which people relate dreams that they have had.  It's an effective way to dive right into the theme.

This is Lee's most spacey album to date.  Songs like "Lean Into It" and the title track are mellow and soothing, covering the listener in a gauzy cloud.  "I Want My Mind Back" is entrancing, while "Indian Myna" uses quaint child-like percussion to set you at ease.  The electronics-induced rumble of "When the Light Goes Out" and repetitive yet effective "Dirty/My Third Dream" approach the sleep-state from an entirely different angle.

"Pointless Beauty" and "Get Used To It" explore both the waking and dream states within the same song.  These cuts lull you at times, before bursts forth in an unexpected explosion, be it a powerful chorus or a frantic string staccato.

Despite the high concept the record is a bit of a disappointment.  I love Ben Lee for the catchy hooks and clever turns-of-phrase that he employs.  Those elements are just not present often enough for my liking on this new album.

Best tracks: "Dirty/My Third Dream", "Indian Myna"

Track listing for Deeper Into Dream:
  • My First Dream
  • Deeper Into Dream
  • Lean Into It
  • Indian Myna
  • Pointless Beauty
  • When the Light Goes Out
  • My Second Dream
  • Glue
  • The Church of Everybody Else
  • I Want My Mind Back
  • Get Used To It
  • Dirty/My Third Dream
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