Oscillating between synth-pop-glam and folk-pop acoustics, singer-songwriter
Ben Heywood straddles the line between Bob Dylan-style
street performer and David Guetta-esque dancehall pop. Heywood's
latest CD, Skills For The Long Emergency from Velvet Blue Music,
traverses from space age frequency to folksy strumming improvising
on the acoustic guitar. There are indeed two sides to Ben Heywood's
music, one being electronic-based and the other indulging in acoustic
meshed tracks. To most people, these are polarized traits, and yet
to Heywood, they come from the same family of music.
The twinkling synths and squealing sound effects of "The Long
Emergency" are powered down to a folksy acoustic thrumming in
"Whispers From The Fire" as Heywood muses, "Once I
was in love / And you loved me back
You took me in your arms
and said I don't care what the world thinks
Once I heard you
There are no arms left to hold me the way that you
do / The way that you did." This theme of having loved and lost
is further explored in "Border Town" as synth effects are
inflamed and Heywood imparts, "Time never gives / It only takes."
Guitar distortions spark and thrust spooled into massive flourishes
along "The Rapture" then shifting into a dense mane of dark
tones through "Once I Believed" rippling into molten blazes
as Heywood's vocals maintain a mild manner. The technopop fixings
of "Cain Come Back To Me" are strapped in by roving drumbeats,
which vessel a doo-wop tempered lull through the electro-pop fringes
of "The Weight." The Gothic tint of "She's An Apostle"
has a funeral-tinged ambience stemmed in a slow tempo and shrouded
in sparse instrumentation as the keyboards move along a somber gait.
Skills For The Long Emergency is non-constrictive as the album
courses through electro-pop clusters and acoustic riffage displaying
Heywood's propensity to think outside of the confines of mainstream
audiences. He's an artist whose palette is diverse not only in its
hues but in the mixing of the hues accessible to him. Skills For
The Long Emergency can come off as a hodge-podge of acoustic and
electronic elements, but keeping true to his nature, it's the elements
Heywwod desires to work with and shape into his own creations.
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