Ben Westbeech - Welcome to the best years of your life
The Brownswood record label, formed by world renowned DJ Gilles Peterson has been dropping some heat as of late. The Brownswood compilation is definitely worth a listen and the forthcoming Jose James release is sure to be hot. Currently, what you need to check out is the debut of Ben Westbeech's "Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life". What struck me about this disc was the good vibe, happy feeling that flowed throughout. Particularly on the first single "So Good Today", an up-tempo broken beat flavored gem that had me hitting repeat several times. Equally satisfying was the track "Get Silly", where Ben says "I got to concentrate on the things I really need. Music & love & health, my soul and I'll be free". In addition to the tight production, which was mostly done by Mr. Westbeech himself. Dude also displays some clever songwriting abilities. It doesn't hurt that he's a classically trained cellist, pianist and vocalist. While his voice isn't overpowering, it's perfectly suited for the fine selection of songs here. The downtempo "Taken Away From" deals with the departure of someone significant and how to deal with the downtime in his life. Another item that earned points was the inclusion of some banging instrumental joints. One of the cuts would be "Bright Future", a very funky broken beat joint with an accompanying sax rift. The other was the aptly titled "Beauty". A hypnotic track with strings and a thumping beat that's very astral jazz influenced. There isn't really a bad song on this album and it proved to be enjoyable from start to finish. It's always a pleasure when a disc comes along and exceeds expectations. I knew Mr. Westbeech had talent but his debut is a definite winner. Highly Recommended.