|Two no and low budget albums (Hello and Emoticons), a full festival tent in 2001 and lots of very lame jokes along the way (Jason Hazeley used to write gags for a job) and Ben and Jason seem happy. Their notoriety is ever on the increase from recording their first album, in anonymity and for under 10, to selling 50,000 copies of Emoticons, they have reason to be optimistic. |
And the songs are still flowing forth - theyd written a further 25 songs about You by the time the final mix of Ten Songs was laid down.
So, in the immortal words of Cilla: Whats it all about Ben and Jason?
Its about making an album that is a universal idea rather than simply a collection of unconnected songs All the best albums sit well together as songs, as a whole concept, says Ben.
Unfortunately, they dont go on to explain what that concept is. But the whole album certainly feels absolute, like its been born out of the same source and time. They are unwaveringly at ease with the world, and have a playful innocence that could never see them creating anything other than the accommodating folk/pop we hear on Ten Songs About You.
Always the nice boys at school (there is no other way of imagining them) they appear to have lived a sheltered existence - an unacknowledged prerequisite for a life-affirming, comfy cosy world of fluffy choruses and squeaky-clean, coffee-table songs.
They tackle their subjects like their contemporary Mercury Music nominee, Ed Harcourt; with a kind of public school politeness, where rebellion and angst doesnt even get a look in.
Fleetingly prosaic (Great Days) but, more often than not, charming, with nursery rhyme simplicity and soaring soundscapes (If All We Had Were Stars), 10 Songs About You revels in tender-hearted, folk-guitar acoustics and impressive string arrangements (due to Jason, a trained string arranger, and the jammy chance of working with Nick Drake aide, Robert Kirby).
See You In My Dreams is reminiscent of Prefab Sprouts Steve McQueen days and theres Shellyan Orphans dramatic violin stabs of Lets Murder Vivaldi.
All in all its a sentimental comfort zone where challenge and realism are a long forgotten thing. Somewhere to rest your head and feel ever so familiar, a kind of safe-and-sound place to be.