445. Ben Kweller – “Sha Sha”

I encountered mop-haired indie-pop wunderkind Ben Kweller when he was the mysterious third amigo in The Bens (alongside Folds and Lee).*

He came across as a nice hybrid of these two and almost every other upbeat, guitar-wielding, power-pop folk-rocker you can imagine.

This debut captures that first experience perfectly.  Ben bashes out eleven happy, slacker-friendly little gems, all guaranteed to have you swaying and jumping and grabbing a tennis racket.

This is Beck without any of the gadgetry, Weezer with no cynicism, the Lemonheads without the opiates.

Ben has a rosy take on the world that is infectious (while not cloying), and an ability to construct songs that seem throwaway but are actually deftly constructed memes you couldn’t ignore if you tried. The pick are Wasted and Ready, Falling, Walk on Me and Commerce, TX:

Anyone think he borrowed a Nirvana riff on this one?

File under: Sha(mbolic but) sha(rp)

*Alas the Bens never delivered their promised longplayer, and the sole EP (which is a ripper) went unreviewed.

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