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Album: Ben Lee: Awake Is The New Sleep
Street Date: February 22, 2005
Length: 56:33
Rating: 2.5stars
Reviewed by: Brian

Awake Is The New Sleep is already the fifth solo album for Australian born pop/rock singer Ben Lee, at the ripe age of 26. Lee began writing and performing as a teenager, and his first album Grandpaw Would was released in 1994.
Lee has always been known for his unique stage presence and ability to bring his songs alive as he performs them. While live performances seem to be his trademark, his recorded albums usually come across with the same charisma that his live performances do. We will see if Lee can live up to that hype with Awake Is The New Sleep.

1. Whatever It Is - There is a nice acoustic guitar fingerpicking undertone to this song. The lyrics are pretty simple, but the vocals go well with them as they are calm and wispy. The song is soothing, with somewhat of an uplifting message.

2. Gamble Everything For Love - Instrumentally this song is nice. It has some drumming, acoustic and electric guitar, with a few other instruments mixed in in a mostly mid-tempo beat. It kind of reminds you of sitting on the beach in a way. Lyrically this song doesn't do a whole lot, it is nice with the song melody, but the vocals don't really change a whole lot to move with the song.

3. Begin - This song is more of a mixed beat song, with some piano and guitar thrown in. Musically it kind of feels like a U2 song. Again, lyrically and vocally the song doesn't do much for me. It doesn't seem like Lee has much vocal range, which isn't completely a bad thing, but the music would definitely benefit from some variation from time to time.

4. Catch My Disease - Instrumentally this song is a mix of many different sounds, but plays off the beat of people clapping their hands and stomping their feet. Lyrically the song flows well with the beat, and for the first time on the album the vocals also flow according to the music moreso than in a general tone. Kind of a light, catchy tune.

5. Apple Candy - Back to a fingerpicking acoustic guitar type piece. There is also some piano mixed in. Vocally the song is solid. Lyrically, the song is kind of silly, but serious at the same time.

6. Ache For You - Another slow song. Instrumentally it sounds more like a mix and backing tracks song than a pure instrument song. Lyrically it is a sweet song. The vocals do compliment it fairly well. There is a nice piano section in the middle of the song.

7. Into The Dark - Acoustic guitar with some drum and backing instruments. It kind of has the same feel of "Catch My Disease," more of a mid-tempo upbeat song. Lyrically the song is nice, nothing special, but nice. The same can be said about the lyrics.

8. No Right Angles - This song is mostly driven by acoustic and some electric guitar, with some drum backing. Lyrically it makes me think about math class, talking about how there are "no right angles." Vocally the song is acceptable.

9. Get Gotten - Another acoustic guitar song. Vocally the song works well with the lyrics. A ballad type song.

10. Close I've Come - Guitar/drum driven. Kind of sounds like what you'd expect from an upbeat Goo Goo Dolls song. Lyrically a pretty good song. Lee actually uses vulgarity for a meaning in this song than just how most people use it to use it, which is a nice change. Vocally the song is good.

11. The Debt Collectors - Again with the acoustic guitar. It isn't a bad thing, but just a note. Vocally, Lee takes it up a few notches and puts some emotion behind the lyrics, which is good.

12. We're All In This Together - Starts with acoustic guitar, but goes into mixed beats with piano and drums also. It has a pretty good song. Lyrically the song is okay, as it is vocally.

13. Light - Early this is kind of a light, slower, melodic song. Kind of strange, because the vocals are kind of distorted and go through with an echo. It is interesting, though. Lyrically the song is okay, nothing special. Late in the song, the tempo picks up and it goes into an instrumental jam session for about the last 5 minutes of the song.

14. I'm Willing - It is fitting that the CD ends with another acoustic guitar song. Lyrically and vocally the song is nice.

Overall, I think that the production was well done, and the instrumentals on most of the songs were very nice. Instrumental and production-wise, this CD would be close to a 3 1/2-4 star CD. However, the lyrics were just okay, but definitely nothing special. The same can be said about the vocals.

Overall, the CD isn't terrible, but it is nothing special, either. It is just kind of your middle of the road CD which is decent. For more information on Ben Lee, you can visit Ben-Lee.com.


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