Benjamin Shaw – There’s always hope, there’s always cabernet

The strange, distorted sounds of Benjamin Shaw‘s There’s always hope, there’s always cabernet are hard to identify. You could say it’s going for a lo-fi angle, kinda like Grandaddy but with less rock out moments and with a dwindling stock of SSRIs.

It’s a strange beast, like those monsters that look like flying brains with tentacles and a beak that feed from dreams (they are called Grell). A combination of folk, experimental sounds (some sound like field recordings, other like overprocessed samples), ‘there’s always hope, there’s always cabernet’ is the opening track, the tattered old red carpet welcoming to an abandoned amusement park.

The old music still loops over the PA, the old rides where kids had fun are now rusted and the only other sound that is around is the dead leaves in the ground. It’s that gloomy, but still catchy. ‘How to test the depth of a well’ is the closest to a normal song you’ll get here, with the sparse folky atmosphere, but the odd found sound seeps through. Maybe a little warning, as ‘Interview’ goes into very dark territories. Like the fabled city of Z, it’s a place you might not want to venture alone and possibly not even with a well armed platoon.

Strange, but interesting would be a way to put it. You could have a slocore ditty (‘Somewhere over the M6’) filled with samples and loops, then you could have a very ambient piece with the occasional lashing of electronic noises (‘An exciting opportunity’). The album veers back and forth between something that sounds strangely familiar into a strangeness that by the end becomes familiar.

It will probably not be everyone’s cup of tea and even for someone who really enjoys experimental stuff, it could take some time to warm up to the dissonances and lovely noises that come out of the blue an add an extra layer to the mix. IF you’re unsure, try ‘Home’ first, then work your way around. Sometimes being lost means having many more directions to choose where to go next.

Words: Sam

Benjamin Shaw Website. Last.fm. Facebook. Myspace. Bandcamp.

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