Singer-songwriter Ben McKelvey started off playing the drums but had a yearning to write songs like his idols. After splitting from his band Fluid Lines, Ben picked up his guitar and set about becoming a storyteller. He's spent the last 2 years touring the UK and East Coast of the USA delivering his honest songs to as many people as possible.
His debut album focuses on personal experiences and observations told with sincerity and delivered with a no-nonsense style. For his live shows Ben has developed his songs for duo and acoustic sessions but for the album he brings in standard instrumentation and is holding nothing back.
Ben has been compared to Paul Weller and Bruce Springsteen for his simple yet heartfelt work. True, his vocal style is unpolished yet emotive and his songs are expressive commentaries but there is also a very British approach to his work which doesn't just start and finish with the title. You could also bring in more contemporary comparisons to songwriters such Tom Odell and Passenger, all of which would be apt.
In The Morning works around an Eagle Eyed Cherry 'Save Tonight' style riff, and brings in similar themes about skipping town by daybreak. Despite the similarities both songs have validity in their decades. Happy Together continues life after the "honeymoon" period has worn off. Rather than a one-sided approach, a female vocal on the chorus adds to the sense of resolve in the monotony.
Island is reminiscent of his earlier work Sunday from acclaimed EP, Everything You Were Meant To Be, Ben taps into the zeitgeist of The British mindset and in particular youth culture, in much the same way that Weller did with The Jam decades earlier. It's a brutal view of elements of our society but Ben confronts and embraces this island, warts and all, in an admirable display of patriotism. I Want A Divorce channels the breakdown of family life. Matter Of Time, another song about a bitter and inevitable break up.
There are acoustic sing-along melodies too among the more serious tracks. Only Here Once is a song about determination with a foot tapping indie chorus and is one of the most optimistic tracks on the album. Work For Free is an uplifting and heartfelt love song with a country story song thread running through.
Ben has taken the baton of British urban Indie rock and run with it. Just like the British weather, there might be some overcast and gloomy moments on this album but it's certainly not all bad in this green and pleasant land.