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Aided & Abetted

Ben Davis

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Album Review

Ben Davis' second solo record is a marvelous swirl of '70s piano balladry ("Departure Warning"), Elliott Smith-styled folk-pop ("Old and Played"), and surreal, psyche-tinged rock worthy of Mercury Rev ("Blue-Hearted Sleeve"). But far from sullen, the record is a hazy interpretation of everything from late-period Beatles to Village Green-era Kinks to Pink Floyd. Just when songs like the slinky "In Either Words" seem to bear the post-rock trademarks of Davis' groups Sleepytime Trio and Bats & Mice, the melody will shift to a pure pop hook or Beatlesque harmonies will slip into the mix. And while Aided & Abetted isn't as memorable as Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs or Elliott Smith albums like XO or Figure 8, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything on the entire record that isn't good. At it's best, Aided & Abetted represents the work of a musician freeing himself from whatever genre constraints he has previously been bound by, and going in whatever direction he wants. And it's this kind of songwriting that often creates the most thought-provoking records in an artist's catalog.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Ben Davis is well known from the plethora of incredible indie bands he had been involved with, most notably the legendary Sleepytime Trio and early work of Jade Tree signees, Milemarker. After leaving Milemarker due to his entry into fatherhood, Davis began to put together slower and more melodic pieces based mainly on the piano. Slowly, friends began to write accompaniment to his bases, which finally evolved into a full project, resulting in the release of his first full-length album, The Hushed...
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