Review : Esser - Braveface
MusicomhEsser, Ben Esser to his nearest and dearest, is 23 years old, hails from Essex and sports the best quiff since Morrissey. He also has two tattoos, one 'good' one 'bad', on either side of his neck.
Predictably, certain music magazines have called him the 'male Lily Allen' based on the fact that he's white, young and, well, English. Sure there's a whiff of ska on some songs, and he chooses to sing in a simple, conversational style, but he also touches on garage rock, dub, electro and R&B. And on Satisfied he attempts what may well be a soundtrack to a lost Chaplin film.
His debut album Braveface is restless, settling on a sound only to master it and move on by the time the next song rolls around. Miraculously, the whole thing hangs together perfectly, each song complementing the last and what should be a mess of disparate influences, becomes a cohesive whole....full text
PopmattersTo hear the Brits talk about it, pop music across the pond is a dismal affair. It’s become more “Brittney” than “Brit-ish”, losing its native flavor and becoming all too generic.
Enter Esser, the UK’s new hope to restore the pop n’ sizzle to the fizzling Brit-pop scene. Armed with an arsenal of unpretentious songs geared towards the dance floor and a keen desire to project an earnest authenticity of musical merriment sans pretension, Ben Esser has gone solo after gigging as the drummer for underwhelming British neo-punk outfit, LadyFuzz, who split up in 2007. Braveface is the debut album from the 23-year-old whose sound blends a number of styles including electronica and harmony-laden mixtures of ‘60s and ‘90s pop, binding them with a cheery, effervescent bounce. His look and sound is an amalgamation of several decades, rocking a sky-high ‘50s DA pompadour with shaved-down, ‘70s post-punk sides sides à la ‘80s Morrissey minus the mope, Esser’s decade-hopping sartorial and sonic sensibilities could easily see him voted “Most Likely to Duet with Amy Winehouse” (if she ever cleans up her act)....full text
GuardianDespite having a "directional" haircut and a list of buddies that includes the fashion designer Hedi Slimane, Chelmsford one-man-band Ben Esser isn't a bad egg at all. Not only is he unimpressed by arty east London ("like Chelmsford, only with more graphic designers"), he applies a similarly dry approach to writing lyrics, which produces gems such as "Bury me inside like a knackered stallion" and "I've got a habit of getting my foot stuck in my mouth". Thus, it's hard to dislike his home-recorded debut, which turns out to be more than the sum of its electropop parts. From the drum roll that opens Leaving Town to the dissonant little electronic symphony of the closing track, Stop Dancing, the songs are ambitious and absorbing, as well as zappy enough for Radio 1. Though it can sometimes feel as if Esser is randomly pushing buttons to make the strangest noises he can, Braveface is a satisfying 35 minutes....full text
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