Review of Esser's album Braveface released through Transgressive Records
Hotly tipped Ben Esser follows up his well received singles, Satisfied and Headlock with this debut album, Braveface. Putting preconceptions aside, this album is pleasant surprise. Unpretentious and inventive, Esser brings us no- nonsense, honest pop. The self produced record was essentially recorded in Esser's bedroom, but with a little help from Lexxx (Crystal Castles, Golden Silvers) the end product is well rounded and polished.
Musically diverse, it's a fusion of different styles from the sing-along summery pop of the title track, to the tango rhythm of Satisfied and many genres in-between. The familiarity of Headlock draws attention with its killer hook and the classic line 'Bury me in sand like a knackered stallion' but the real stand out track is Bones. It's a darker, more melancholic number with its layered vocals and perhaps the most heartfelt delivery on the album; it's a really beautiful song.
Esser's mockney vocals do make you think of Mike Skinner and Lily Allen simultaneously, although lyrically he has a way to go to match the former. His simple delivery can also seem almost nonchalant at times, and would perhaps benefit from an injection of emotion. But that said, the ambitious production of the album has clearly been a labour of love, and it has paid off. It's a strong debut that has the potential to woo the mainstream market - watch this space.
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