Ben Folds Five. The ground-breaking pop trio who with others, changed the course of indie rock in the mid-1990s, is releasing ‘The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind’. This is the group’s first album of new music in 13 years. The music’s genesis took place via a successful grassroots direct to fans campaign on Pledge Music, where artists and fans work together with charities to create albums and other projects. A portion of the funds generated by album sales, and other Ben Fold Five items ordered by fans through PledgeMusic, will be used to support Music Education and Music Therapy, a charity personally chosen by Ben Folds Five. PledgeMusic builds a charitable component into each of the campaigns running under its auspices.
Ben Folds Five are Ben Folds (piano), Robert Sledge (bass) and Darren Jessee (drums). They launched in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1994. The trio’s gigs garnering an intensely loyal fanbase, BFF signed first with an indie before a move to the majors wrought 1997′s watershed Whatever And Ever Amen. The album introduced the ballad "Brick," broke the band commercially and sold more than two million copies worldwide. BFF recorded its last album, 1999′s The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner, which included the single "Army," before disbanding in 2000. (The trio reunited for a one-off live performance of The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner on MySpace in 2008).
In 2011, the original three members of Ben Folds Five came together to record three new studio tracks for The Best Imitation Of Myself: A Retrospective, a career-spanning Ben Folds anthology. The band’s magic rekindled in the new tracks, BFF gave its first concert in more than a decade to a spellbound audience at New York’s Mountain Jam Festival on June 2, 2012. In the wake of the group’s triumphal return at Mountain Jam, the group performed a short run of key US summer festival dates including Bonnaroo, Milwaukee Summerfest, and Old St. Patrick’s Church Block Party in Chicago.
The cover of this album is intriguing. A robot sitting on a rock at the bottom of the sea bed deep in thought.This album is full of great sounds from tight, well-tuned instruments. For me this is ‘Sunday afternoon’ cd. Just after your big dinner, sit down and put this album on and rest. I can see why it has been a hit at the festivals as it would be lovely music to sit in a field to and chill in sunny weather.
The first track ‘Erase Me’ is pop easy listening and mellow. It felt a bit old Beatles and nostalgic. The next 4 tunes – ‘Michael Praytor, Five Years Later ‘, ‘Sky High ‘, ‘The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind’, ‘On Being Frank ‘ are chilled out tunes and then comes ‘Draw A Crowd’, which is more upbeat and has a good vibe. ‘Do It Anyway’ is a one you can dance to. Folk and a country feel thrown in there. THIS track WILL go down well at festivals. The remainder tracks – ‘Hold That Thought’, ‘Away When You Were Here’, ‘Thank You For Breaking My Heart’ again on the melancholy side. Overall this album was easy listening and is good fare to listen to while sitting in the open air being engulfed by the melodies and the sun. Just hoped for more. 6.5/10
Highlight – ‘Do it Anyway’
Ben Folds Five will return to the road in September – October with a major North American tour, including a gig at New York’s Central Park on September 14, drop down to Australia and then begin the UK/Ireland run of dates
The UK/Ireland dates are:
November 23 Bristol, England O2 Academy
November 24 Nottingham, England Rock City
November 26 Dublin, Ireland Vicar Street
November 29 Manchester, England O2 Apollo
November 30 Glasgow, Scotland O2 Academy
December 1 Leeds, England O2 Academy
December 3 Birmingham, England O2 Academy
December 4 London, England O2 Academy Brixton
December 5 London, England O2 Academy Brixton
For more tour information, please visit http://www.benfoldsfive.com/