There’s a long historic tradition of purely vocal music, beat boxing, choirs, the recent resurgence of sea shanty’s, babershop –  after all beside maybe percussion the voice is the one instrument we’ve always had. But who are we kidding, amongst all this, the most recent love of a cappella music is firmly routed in that god awful American TV Show Glee, maybe if you’re stretching it, the Pitch Perfect films. Which gives me a natural instinct to want to dislike it. But come on you can’t can you? There’s a strong hypnosis to well done vocal harmonies and great acoustic arrangements, it can be such a powerful sound. If you combine that with some songs you already love then surely you’re on to a winner?

I’m honestly not sure where I first heard about Ben Folds A Cappella album, a collection that was born out of a university choir cover the song “Brick”, but I remember queueing up that first track and the opening “no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no” of “Not the Same” was mesmerising. It’s a triumph of an opener and a throughly great version of an already great track. The album runs along nicely through with some fantastic reimaginings, “Jesusland” propelled along nicely in the opening that leaves you almost surprised at how good it sounds as the opening lyric kicks in. The album then meanders through some of Ben Folds solo and Ben Folds Five best tracks, the biggest slips coming as the pace slows down – the fantastic emotion of one of my favourite tracks “Evaporated” doesn’t fare well in it’s slow downed choral version.

Getting people to sing along a cappella style has long been a staple of Ben Folds live shows, Ben on stage conducting the audience along, and the album brings back memories of some great live shows – even if the album performance of “Army” does leave a little lacking from the joy of the sing along live version. The album as a whole though is fantastic, it surprises in how it takes some tracks that you already know and repackages them in a way you maybe wouldn’t expect but bring something new and enjoyable. It’s not all hits, I’d say there’s a few misses on the album as a whole, but it is a great, fun and interesting listen and thankfully, it’s much better than watching an Episode of Glee.


From the blog

The Christmas reading list

If you’re prepared you’ve probably already bought all your Christmas gifts even if it isn’t yet December, if you aren’t and you have a music lover in your life then how about a nice music related book? I’ve got a few recommendations for you here, there are plenty more I’ve enjoyed over the years – […]

For Your Ears, For Your Eyes #2

The latest newsletter has dropped this week, the second of our recommendations issues. Featuring Charli XCX, Zuzu, The Avalanches, Everything is a remix and a few more. Check it out at the link below and don’t forget to sign up so you don’t miss future emails – link in the site footer! For Your Ears, […]

The mailing list – For Your Ears – For Your Eyes

We’ve just sent out the first issue of our mailing list with our fortnightly recommendations. If you haven’t read it yet you can do so here. https://mailchi.mp/f200e38df083/for-your-ears-for-your-eyes But why not sign up using the form in the footer and make sure you don’t miss an issue.

Some Podcast Recommendations

So much to listen to, so little time. I’m sure it’s the same for most people – I have a queue of new music I want to listen to, along with wanting to rediscover and enjoy old favourites and then add to that an ever increasing queue of podcasts to take up my listening time. […]

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