For musicians, the desire to possess a duality in talents, both on the musical and lyrical side, is universally present for those who seek to make this medium of art their life. The unfortunate reality is that for many artists, having skills in both departments is but a dream, and more often than not, these blokes end up becoming dependent, almost exclusively, on creating relatable lyrics to convey the emotional point of a song as well as their artistic identity as a whole. The results, one could argue, have been mixed, but one thing that is not up for debate is that when an artist comes around who is good at expressing their story through both lyrics and music, it’s worth taking note of. Ben Rice is one of those artists.
In his debut single “The Getaway,” Rice sonically captures the lull that comes before any storm that’s summoned when we make a major change in our everyday lives. Fine-tuned using a folk/rock formula that is undeniably influenced by British post-punk, “The Getaway” is confident but not cocky, affirming but just shy of abrasive. It’s almost as if Rice was making a deliberate effort to push us as far as we could go, just to pull us back into safety, somehow building up some trust from us along the way. He could have been a little more forceful or literal with his poetry, but he defiantly resists the urge to employ any approach other than the abstract one he’s committed to.
This track is elegantly strung together, not dissimilar to an expensive tapestry that has been woven with highly contrasting colors; its sole purpose in this world is to capture our attention and provoke both introspection and contemplation from within. As modernly stylized and structured as “The Getaway” is, there’s still a very rustic, haunting feel to the song that leaves a very remarkable impression, even after having just a single listen. It sort of reminds me of an old, rustic part of a city, where the ghosts are as plentiful as the dirt, and there’s a subtle feeling of ancient glory everywhere you look.
Some critics are going to label Rice as an Americana revivalist, or maybe something even more absurd like alternative country, but to me, he’s so much more talented than either of those labels would ever imply. Not to mention, his sound is so rooted in pop/rock that choosing to focus on his pastoral nature alone wouldn’t just be a disservice to him, but it would ultimately be negatively impactful of the scene which he represents. Ben Rice is an original, cut from a very special cloth that only offers up material every decade or so. I don’t think that there is anyone doing what he does at the moment with as much passion or talent as he shows when he goes to work. “The Getaway” may be his very first single, but hopefully it will not be the last and we’ll be treated to more from this exciting new artist very soon.