2006-09-24 Progressive Ears (TFI Review)

Originally posted by BrianG at Progressive Ears:

Tunisia is essentially the solo work of a young Australian named Ben Craven who plays guitars, bass, Hammond organ and assorted percussion and programming. Generally, the one-man band concept is difficult to pull off. The temptation to do everything yourself, citing complete artistic control, grabs many new and experienced artists. With drum and bass sequencers and overdubbing computers in every home now, we should expect to see lots of solo efforts. The state of the music business also seems to push toward those who want to minimize the risks inherent in working with others, however, this usually only works for the highly creative, the well organized and well financed, or the extremely talented. A solo work does away with any internal criticism, which works to the advantage of some and disadvantage of most.

Ben Craven’s talent lies mostly in his production abilities and his ability to get a clean tone out of any guitar. The songs are mostly based on Craven’s unchallenging but agreeable guitar pieces. He chooses simple well-played arrangements with light electronics over challenging or heavy songwriting.

“Enough About You” and “Not Me It’s You” are straightforward 4/4 blues rock found daily on AOR radio. “Golden Band” is post rock lite. “Look Away” is the simplest of guitar tunes, clean, sounding pure. Craven’s solos use long delay and sustain without much diversity. He uses distorted church bells at one point. “Celeste” shows how important the choice of instruments is to the arrangements.

Tunisia falls short of being labeled a progressive release, but is a pleasant listen. A second disc recorded in 5.1 audio is also included, bringing out more of the clean home studio sound.