Mr Ben & The Bens
Fri, September 10 2021 @ 7.30 pm – 11.00 pm
Born as a recording project in a barn in Northern Lancashire in 2012, Ben Hall recorded and self released 10 albums under the guise of a naively drawn character ‘Mr Ben’. After releasing the sellout split EP on Bingo Records in 2017 the side project now turned live outfit with their first gig actually happening live on BBC Radio 6. After releasing two more sellout records with Bingo and numerous UK tours the 4 piece are known for their captivating, costume clad, joyous, pop performances. Mr Ben & the Bens sound like they were baptised in water from the church of indie classics, the songs of the Lancaster Polymath echo Belle & Sebastian, Teleman, & Gorkys Zygotic Mynci his genuinely original modern songwriting.
After the celestial adventures of Mr Ben and the Bens’ previous issue, band-leader Ben Hall finds all the magic he needs on earth with his new album, Life Drawing, released in July 2020 via Bella Union. On 2019’s Who Knows Jenny Jones?, Hall plotted the story of a young, shy Pitsmoor woman who returned from an alien encounter newly armed with serious disco-dancing know-how. Life Drawing, meanwhile, looks closer to home for its inspiration – Sheffield and thereabouts – for twelve brightly plaintive, character-driven vignettes, set to warm, acoustic, indie-folk-pop backdrops after its predecessor’s close encounters of the synth-driven kind.
A “cloudy thread of narrative” is present, Hall explains, but this time it’s left open for listeners to map routes through it. “The idea with the title is that the songs are character sketches, and their stories coalesce in a place that has a bit of all the towns in the North of England I’ve lived in. Bits of myself in the stories came out unintentionally, so I’d like it if the listener could find those semi-truths from the songs and place them into their own experiences.”