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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Braveface by Esser

With a musical bent towards bouncy melodies and eclectic instrumentation, Ben Esser's debut album of fractured pop is still more muddled than sharp. The dark undercurrents in some of his songs make sense. He's often namechecking 1960s British producer Joe Meek, a skilled yet paranoid artist known for both his tragic demise, a shotgun murder/suicide in 1967, and his ramshackle audio experimentation on hit singles such as "Telstar". Esser seems to aspire to create conceptual pop-- not sure if his matching good and bad neck tattoos are commentary on the duality of man or just fashionable ink. But where Meek literally experimented with found sounds and production gear, Esser plays with established techniques and toys to no singular effect.

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