Friday, April 17, 2009

Ben Lee - The Rebirth Of Venus

I've always like Ben Lee. I heard I Wish I Was Him on a CMJ sampler a million years ago and got to enjoy the bizarro era where Evan Dando would bum rush stages and perform it at will. He also pulled one of the more awesome moves I've seen a live performer pull during CMJ late last century. During the time he was dating Claire Danes and had written some touching little ditty about their long distance love. It was at the old Threadwaxing Space and had the usual cadre of industry weasels chatting their way through the set. After asking the most egregious of the offenders a number of times to shut the hell up, he simply jumped in the audience and finished his set in the middle of the group. It was fairly obvious that Ben was not ignorant of the more pugnacious aspects of the average Aussie. 

He's also kind of a big deal in Australia. He had a bunch of hits early on, and has been self-releasing his material in Australia to huge success since 2004. His early material was somewhat dark, but recent years have found Lee releasing record after record that make Up With People seem like Integrity. He's also displayed a socially-conscious political side that equals his savvy in getting his singles placed in commercials and tv dramas. 

The new record is called The Rebirth Of Venus. It's got a handful of good songs on it, but is more notable for having a large amount of its royalties donated to FINCA International's Village Banking Program. If Lee continues to move the units he's been shifting for New West and his own Ten Fingers, it could be a good year for the world's less fortunate. I prefer the darker Folds-ian stuff like Families Cheating At Bored Games, but there are so many choir choruses on The Rebirth Of Venus that even the dark moments aren't exactly Dakota Suite.
In fact, a lot of this stuff is so perky that it kinda gives me a headache. I submit to you What's So Bad (About Feeling Good) and I Love Pop Music. Boy With A Barbie might also shine a light on the warmness and/or fuzziness of one of PETAs Sexiest Vegetarians. Again, it's a little much for this bitter bastard, but then again if I had married Ione Skye last year, I might be releasing this kind of digital sunshine.  If you're of a mind, pick up The Rebirth Of Venus from the good folk of New West here. Be forewarned, though, the bizarre I'm A Woman, Too might prove a little much for even the most positive of Jason Mraz-ophiles. You can interface with Mr. Positive here.


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