Ben Browning — Turns (June 16, 2015)
Ξ EARLIER THIS YEAR AUSTRALIAN PRODUCER/SONGWRITER BEN BROWNING SHARED THE FIRST LOOK AT HIS DEBUT FULL–LENGTH “TURNS” WITH THE BLISSED OUT SINGLE “MAKE IT EASY.” A LONG–TIME MEMBER OF THE BAND CUT COPY, BEN’S SOLO PROJECT SEES HIM DEFINING HIS PERSONAL MUSICAL IDENTITY AND MORE ELECTRONIC INFLUENCES, PULLING MELODIC INSPIRATION FROM BRIAN WILSON AND PAUL MCCARTNEY, AND DANCE MUSIC CUES FROM LINDSTRØM AND TODD TERJE. AFTER SHARING A SECOND SINGLE FROM THE LP, “FRIENDS OF MINE,” TODAY BEN OFFERS THE FULL PRE–STREAM TO “TURNS” OVER AT THE NEW YORK TIMES. TO CELEBRATE THE RELEASE THAT’S OFFICIALLY OUT THIS WEEK, BEN ANNOUNCES A NINE–DATE LIVE US TOUR, KICKING OFF ON JULY 22ND IN CHICAGO AT LINCOLN HALL.
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Album release: June 16, 2015
Record Label: Yellow Year Records
01. Back To The Start 3:52
02. Make It Easy 3:26
03. Friends Of Mine 4:20
04. Life Dudes (Tripping Through 3:26
05. You Can Be There 4:09
06. Are You Acting 3:40
07. Don’t Wait Your Turn 3:48
08. Beaches Of Love 3:35
09. Don’t Forget The Night 5:19
10. Azizam 3:55
℗ 2015 Yellow Year
Ξ Ben Browning’s debut solo album sounds like his work with Cut Copy, only toned down a notch. Unlike the songwriter’s main project, these synth–filled tunes don’t aim to reach any anticipatory climax. The album moseys on, never exceeding a mild tempo. The tempo, lyrics, and album and track titles — everything about Turns signifies a turning point for Browning.
Ξ Lyrically, Browning crafts a metaphor that spans the whole album. On the surface, his words address a woman, probably a former love, though they also speak to the person Browning was before he became a solo artist. On opening track “Back to the Start”, Browning sings, “You can’t see what she’s done to your heart/ You’ll go back to the start.” Though he’s probably referring to the start of a relationship, the line could also apply to the start of his solo career. On “Friends of Mine”, he sings, “Everyone, look behind/ It’s where I find friends of mine,” suggesting his new endeavor will move him forward while others remain stagnant.
Ξ Electronic instrumentation energizes each song, as Browning’s mostly monotonous vocals contrast with the buoyant production. Bells, chimes, and the ever–present synthesizer are a nostalgic nod to early ‘90s video game soundtracks, and tracks like “Are You Acting” and “Don’t Forget the Night” achieve the groovy disco rhythms that Daft Punk accomplished on Random Access Memories. On the final track, “Azizam”, Browning asks, “Can we make a change in our lives?” It appears, however, that he’s already answered his own question with a definitive yes. Whether Turns is a precursor or byproduct of change (or a little of both), the turning point fits Browning well.