Benjamin Golby - I Was Sound
Owain Paciuszko 24/11/2008
Sometimes there are records that you just can't gel with for some reason, and in this instance it's all down to Golby's vocal which has a slightly strange, nasal pseudo-Paul McCartney sound. There is also Golby's proclivity towards very odd synth sounding arrangements invading otherwise wonderfully orchestrated piano led tunes.
The first track 'Consolation for the Lonely That We Might Call Ourselves Blessed' ably demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of this album. When the female backing vocals come in around the two minute mark it tempers Golby's voice just so, and the melancholy ooo's merge excellently with the bittersweet piano line creating something quite touching, but, up until that two minute mark it's near headache inducing, but not in a 'wall of sound' kind of way, just everything feels a little off.
The pop folk leanings of the record are reminiscent of Mark Oliver Everett's pre-Eels debut album 'A Man Called E', like Everett's voice on that record Golby's is somewhat jostling against the musical soundscape he is creating. Bizarrely for an album recorded in 'bedrooms, bathrooms and elsewhere' the sound is far too crisp and clean and lacking in character. Golby, however, is a talented songwriter and if it weren't for the stinging production and the occasionally grating vocal performance there would be a better album here. It's just, personally, I can't get beyond the voice here.