Review by: Sarah Vardy
Title Page Photo by: Eric Ryan Anderson
Feature image courtesy of Artist

Ben Rector’s latest album “Brand New” is a revelation. It’s full of love and optimism to put you in a virtuous disposition. The record opens with the track Something Beautiful, a short and sweet ditty that makes you feel like you’re swinging around lampposts in a cobblestone street. The vocals are warm and the piano is inviting gently ushering you into this very lovely and heart-warming compilation.

The second title track on the album Brand New kicks up the pace a little with more of a pop, contemporary feel similar to Of Monsters and Men or Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros. The third track Paris has a definitive John Mayer character sweetened by some well thought out production building some fine crescendos and layering of instrumentation. There’s something quirky about the tempo that makes you feel like skipping around eating raspberry ripple ice cream.

The fourth track Favourite Song is a fun pop ballad about love with some noteworthy pop culture anecdotes. The lyrics are well constructed with the hook Favourite Song employed as a fitting metaphor for being in love. The lyrics are reflective and positive which is a theme carrying throughout the album.

The only track that might be slightly more onerous is The Men that Drive Me Places. There is quite a sad undertone to this song as it regals tales of difficult lives and Rector’s appreciation of their hardships compared to his own successes accompanied by firstly just piano with a couple of other instruments added thoughtfully to the mix. Fear kicks up the tempo again with self-affirming, reflective lyrics and a decisively country tone.

Note To Self returns to the John Mayer style, folk tones. Like The World is Going to End has more of a contemporary, pop feel to it. Crazy is notably filled with some amusing pop culture references with a satirical take on domestic behaviours and everyday musings. The next 2 tracks carry some crazy tales from the road and being away from home. The last song More Like Love bears the message that we all need a bit more love. It’s a piano driven ballad, reflecting on Rector’s growth into maturity and the discoveries he’s made.

Overall the album has a lot of variation in tones and is an endearing personal portrait of Rector; in fact if the record is anything to go by it sounds like he’s a pretty righteous dude. Rector is also quite a good-looking guy and if he wasn’t winning with the ladies before Brand New is going to make women of all ages swoon.

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