One of the most common questions I always tend to ask artists feature on the magazine is how the city or country that saw them born and gave them a stage to introduce themselves have influence their music. Sometimes this seems to makes no sense as their sound doesn’t fit their particular surrounding. Yet, there are times where their heritage is so strong that it notice right at the very first chord played in one of their songs.
The Motor Car & The Weather Balloon by Portsmouth, England native Ben Brookes is a perfect example of this. Even when he brought a Prince´s drummer and a keyboardist for Bob Dylan, the music feels very English. “I Wanna Go Home” is very theatrical and it has troubadour vibe, it’s both modern but the way it’s structured as well as Ben´s dramatic vocals adds a very Mid Age undertones, as if you were listening a singer-songwriter from the future at a pub in the middle of the woods in the Dark Age. Some of this elements remain present moving on, but things does get back to the present on the rest of the album. Music does get to sound sometimes a bit generic, but Brookes vocal elevates into new grounds. It has some of the energy of Phil Collins, the intimacy of James Blunt while bringing his own spin.
If by definition, your concept of great British music is Faithless, Enter Shikari or Pendulum – then by any means, this is the right record for you. It gets to a point where things does feel a bit repetitive, especially with the music playing on the background. While there are some musical shifts throughout every record, there doesn´t seem to be too much of a risk taken by the artist. I was really hoping for some more when I was hooked up with the first song, but basically I kept waiting. Even though, the production was very good.
Criteria - 80%
In the words of Badfingers’ Joey Molland describe the record as the quintessentially of British music and by the time you finish the album, you see where he does come from. The record is as English as it can be, it reminds a lot to the boom of Britpop of the 90s while it also dives into other decades and genres. Overall, a record you must have if you really enjoy great music with a meaning and a heart behind the instrument.