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Benjamin Shaw

There's Always Hope There's Always Cabernet (Audio Antihero)

By • Dec 9th, 2011 • Category: long players

Well, I’m not one much impressed by cutesy titles, and I thought it was going to be a struggle to like Shaw’s  heh-heh-heh-ishly titled album, but once in a while, life provides you with pleasant surprises. The title track does battle with its name and wins, melancholic, full of electronic fuzz and faux tape hiss. A damnably solid lyric foils the sloppiness nicely. You’ll hear comparisons to Sparklehorse which don’t exactly flatter but don’t engender vomiting. M. Ward is probably a better reference point for Shaw’s particular style of conscious low-fi-dom, it’s less experimental than Linkous’ project and probably rooted more in disappointment than in anguish.  It’s a very wintery album, and so comes at the perfect time of year, very slow, one is tempted to say “glacial” but glaciers don’t move as slowly in these climate-troubled times. The pace may be a bit much for some people, it’s true, but with tracks as strong as ‘Interview’, a master class in vocal arrangement and rhythmic aberrancy, what you lose in punch you make up for in depth.  Pleasant surprises abound, the closing track ‘Hulk’ purportedly telling the sad tale of Dr. David Banner isn’t the kind of sonic smirk you fear it could be. It’s solemn, but the melodies provide the occasional dappling of sunshine. One of the better records of the year. I guess there is always hope, pass the cabernet.
There's Always Hope, There's Always Cabernet - Benjamin Shaw

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