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CD Reviews:  Review of Hey You, Yes You by Ben Lee


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Sometimes in this business we get what I refer to as a “sky faller.” This phenomenon occurs when an artist or album falls from seemingly out of nowhere to make such an impact that we’re left gazing, with jaws wide open, to the rock and roll heavens. Ben Lee’s latest, Hey You, Yes You, very much fits this label. The 24-year-old Aussie has been occupying primarily unnoticed space ever since his solo debut in 1997. He fell victim to the collapse of Grand Royal Records (the former label founded by Beastie Boys), then spun his wheels chasing Hollywooders and trying to get discovered. With 1999’s Breathing Tornados, Lee somewhat legitimized himself as a guy who could, but still longed for the next door to open. Hey You, Yes You just might be the golden gate.

Blending a bevy of alternative influence, everything from Beck to World Party to Ben Folds, Lee covers multiple decades and tiptoes across several genres. “Running With Scissors” is a spiked-up tambourine jingle that shimmies and shakes to an entertaining tempo, albeit a synthetic drum beat. The cosmic “Run” gives off a serious INXS vibe, with fitting Michael Hutchence vocals that just chill the joint. “Run if you want me, you’re moving too slow. Run if you want me, uh whoa!” may not seem like the most ingenious of lyrics, but pressed against lush hop-skip beats and divine licks, they work big time.

The aforementioned Beck craft is never more palpable than on the funky “Dirty Mind,” a multi-instrument spree along modern yet subtle hip-hop with dicey language to boot (“Come for the danger, stay for the strange, but I’m never gonna give it away”). For me, the paramount moment on Hey You, Yes You rings out on “Something Borrowed, Something Blue.” The low-fi squelch of jaded guitars slashes through the counterfeit drum loops and one of the catchiest chorus hooks of the year. Modern rock radio has really missed one here!

Even the sappy Elton John-like piano poem “No Room to Bleed” fills a crucial spot on this project. Who would have guessed? I found myself spending too much time at first trying to draw commonalities throughout this record. Then, after the third or fourth spin, I just let it do what it had already done. It filled every pore of my trouble-free musical sense. I had fallen for this one before I even realized it. Ain’t love grand?

~Red Rocker

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