When I ran into the debut album by Ben Rice, Future Pretend, I initially thought he is a blues musician with the same name and got confused by his quite mainstream sound of songs. In fact Rice has a an remarkable career as a producer (confusion, part II: there are two big producers with that name) and worked with some really interesting artists. The album has been published on 19th February 2021.
Ben Rice – About The Artist
Ben Rice is a Brooklyn-born music producer and still lives in this part of New York. In this borough, he is also driving the Degraw Studio, where he is recording and producing. Some of his works are with Norah Jones or The Candles. Since the early 2000’s he is also working as a musical artist. His first major band was Surefire, which existed from 2003 to 2009. They have been quite successful,. Right thereafter he fronted an indie rock band called Blackbells, which just lasted two years. In 2018, he went solo. He is very often compared to Tom Petty. He so far released six singles – three of them are part of his first solo album.
Ben Rice – Future Pretend – Track by Track
The nine song album lasts 34 minutes.
1. Everything Changes
Everything Changes sounds good: a touch of 1980’s, the keyboard sound could be an alternative interpretation of F.R. David’s Words – and somehow the sound reminds me of some Genesis track as well. Many reasons to make me smile.
2. Taste Like Sugar
Taste Like Sugar is more rhythmic. The soupy background vocals may be a bit too much for some of the listeners, though. Nice one.
3. Summer Rain
The bass groove on Summer Rain even leads to slight touch of reggae or ska to the album. Overall, I cannot relate to this one as much as I can do to the two openers.
4. From a Daydream
The acoustic guitar of From a Daydream gives a very nice atmosphere. A very laid back recording – this is indeed have a touch of blues. Nice one.
When I think about someone
I pick up the phone
When I save it for later
It never gets lone
I’m a deep sea diver
Just trying to get home
I called you from daydream
5. The Hard Road
This one is indeed close to Tom Petty songs – you just cannot argue against it. As I love Tom Petty (one of the best concerts I ever had), I also just cannot do different than having a crush on this track as well.
American is the third track of the album, which has been released before Future Pretend. I know the stories are very different, but I just have to relate to Petty’s American Girl. Really love to listen to these songs.
7. Maybe I’m the Enemy
After the first songs touched a couple of genres, the songs are now much straighter and feel to converge to a common Ben Rice sound. On the one hand, I enjoy to listen to this kind of Ben Rice music – on the other hand, it also leads to some monotony.
8. One and Only
Just when the album is almost coming to end end, there is another real gem of songwriting: One and Only is one of the best songs of the album, indeed.
9. Parade Ground
Parade Ground with its heavenly sounding background racket is the slow and intense closing of the album. Nice way to finish Future Pretend.
Ben Rice – Future Pretend – Spotify
Here is the Spotify widget for the album:
Ben Rice – Future Pretend – My View
Nice debut album – even though Ben Rice is of course not a newcomer artist. I struggle a bit with the similar sounds in the middle of the album, but overall, it is a nice collection of songs, some of which are having a nice nostalgic touch. Overall, it is a pretty solid listen – which is significantly closer to the top then to the lower rankings.
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