I've loved Ben Lee since I heard a preview copy of his first solo CD over the speakers of my local music store. He's a strong songwriter with a penchant for memorable melodies, well-constructed lyrics, and solid production. And his releases have reliably ranged from good to excellent, often making my list of favorites for the year they're released. I dipped back and picked up what I could of his previous project, Noise Addict, too, and found it to be similarly enjoyable.
Well, the bad news is that Ben has found ayahuasca, an herb with medicinal qualities, and used it to go on a healing journey. The worse news is that the experience is what this album is all about, and it has influenced the writing and production across the board. What minimal lyrical content there is here is akin to the repetitive chants that you might expect to hear in ceremonies like those that Lee expounds upon in his liner notes. A couple of the sung melodies do stick with you, but the bulk of the hour-long experience is a wash of the vaguely acoustic stuff you usually hear on New Age recordings. There's not much substance here - which is almost ironic given that it's about a substance.
If you're a Lee fan like I am, you might find a small amount to hold onto here. If you're not, don't start here unless New Age is your thing. Or you've sampled ayahuasca yourself and are more likely to appreciate The Work. I'm hoping that his next CD is back to the classic Ben Lee mold. Because there was absolutely nothing wrong with what he was doing before. And if not - if this marks a career turn - well, he'll drop off my "must buy" list, and I'll still be able to enjoy everything that preceded this one.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
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