Daily Archives: January 23, 2011

465. Ben Lee – “Breathing Tornados”

This album caused quite a storm (oh, maybe that was a subtle play on the album title) in a teacup when it was released back in 1998.

Little Benny decided to declare it the greatest Australian album of all time, and trumpeted himself as the saviour of our local scene. Not surprisingly, that pissed a few folks off, with even the quiet public servant of Oz-Rock Bernard Fanning getting his back up.

I have no qualm with a bit of hubris… when  it is justified (or completely ironic).  The problem here is that this album was far from the work of genius Lee was claiming.

Instead it is an unadventurous, uninspired collection of over-produced, over-thought compositions.  Ben has lost all of his youthful enthusiasm and naivety, replacing it with some prematurely dull lectures on how we can all live a better, fulfilling life.

Sure, a couple of tracks are listenable in a chilled out, Beck-on-a-dull-day sort of way.  Cigarettes Will Kill You, Nighttime, and Nothing Much Happens are the more competent efforts.

In the end this feels like a conversation with a pseudo-worldy 3rd year university student just back from a miiiiiiiind-blowing trek through Asia who wants to lecture you on the way the world works.

In lieu of a Lee clip I was gonna play the Klinger track about him, but I can’t find a vid (or even the audio) anywhere.  Here’s the track it was a b-side too:

File under: A load of hot air a storm does not make