CD Review of Sha Sha by Ben Kweller
Ben Kweller: Sha Sha
Ato Records
Ben Kweller: Sha Sha

Reviewed by Mike Farley


wenty-year-old Ben Kweller was touted a few years ago as the next Nirvana with his band, the Radish. Now he's out on his own but unlike Nirvana his lyrics are actually clever and interesting. Ben's songs are basically Ben Folds meets the Beatles. In fact, his voice is almost a dead ringer for Folds. The voice does grate on you after a while, but the songs are just plain good.

"How it Should Be (Sha Sha)" is the first track and I'm sorry for the repeated references, but if you didn't know which Ben this was you'd swear it was Folds. "Wasted & Ready" has a garage band pop/punk feel and "Family Tree" is a rootsy shuffle with Beatlesque harmonies. "Commerce, TX" is a more innocent "Smells Like Teen Spirit." "In Other Words" is a beautful piano ballad that has modern Stones-like chord changes. "Make it Up" is another one that is melancholy and yet rocks...just like Ben you-know-who. "Lizzy" is a bluesy acoustic number.

This record is balanced perfectly with guitar and piano tunes, and it's apparent Kweller can write equally great songs on both. This kid is an amazing talent. If he keeps his nose clean and doesn't join some freaky cult he'll make a lot of noise over the next 40 or so years. Just remember I told you to jump on the bandwagon now.

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