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2016-04 – Russell Trunk’s Exclusive Magazine (Review)

Originally published at:

Title – ‘Last Chance To Hear’
Artist – Ben Craven
For those not in the know, Ben Craven is an Australian musician and producer, best known for his 2011 progressive rock album, Great & Terrible Potions, which featured artwork by cover designer Roger Dean.

In 2007, Craven recorded the EP Under Deconstruction as a free download, protesting against the use of DRM in the music industry. Craven later observed that DRM was only a distraction from the problem of monetizing legal music file downloads.

In 2012, Craven assembled three-piece band Ben Craven & The Section specifically for live performances of his album Great & Terrible Potions (2011). The band was interviewed and performed for a live interactive video streaming event in May 2013, in what was billed as a world-first for progressive rock.

Now the Australian cinematic progressive-rock singer-songwriter is releasing his highly anticipated third album Last Chance To Hear. With all the 15 tracks written and performed by Ben Craven, save for ‘Spy In The Sky Part 3’ (vocals performed by William Shatner), and artwork by Freyja Dean, the “Ben Craven” logo by Roger Dean, Last Chance To Hear is the most complete Craven has sounded in a while.

This highly addictive new album begins with some funky opening drums on ‘Last Chance To Hear Part 1’ and never lets up. A flashback, feelgood track, it showcases the grass roots Prog rock sound that Craven is well renowned for. As does, save for the soothing last instrumental track, the entire album. That’s backed by the more gentle, haunting, soaring at times ‘Critical Mass Part 1,’ which in turn is followed by both its sterner ‘Part 2,’ and the more ethereal ‘Spy In The Sky Part 2’ (no, we didn’t miss out ‘Part 1’, that actually comes later in the tracklisting!).

The longest track on the album, coming in at just under nine minutes is ‘Spy In The Sky Part 3.’ Featuring actor William Shatner (Star Trek), it is an opus, there is just no other way to describe it. Well, aside from amazing, of course. With Bill’s vocals produced and engineered by none other thank YES musical legend Billy Sherwood, Bill’s spoken words don’t take up the whole track, just enough to give it a masterful, commanding presence. The upbeat ‘The Remarkable Man’ is next, and is backed by ‘Spy In The Sky Part 1,’ a stunning piano-inspired stand alone cut – and one that Dave Gilmour would have more than proud to have called his own back in the day.

That’s followed by totally frenetic, Zappaesque ‘Revenge Of Dr Komodo,’ which in turn is backed by both the melodically beautiful ‘Last Chance To Hear Part 2’, and them finally, another piano-inspired gem, the aforementioned soothing instrumental ‘Mortal Remains’. The wonderful bonus DVD included brings forth a stunning array of Craven goodies for all his fans to since their visual teeth into!

On The Set With Ben Craven – The Making Of “Last Chance To Hear”
The Remarkable Man (Official Video)
Critical Mass Part 2 (TuneLeak Video)
Revenge Of Dr Komodo (TuneLeak Video)
Spy In The Sky Part 1 (TuneLeak Video)

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk