Album review: BEN REEL – Darkness & The Light

BEN REEL - Darkness & The Light

Release date 22.04.13

You never quite know what to expect from Ben Reel.  Over his previous 5 studio albums he’s touched on rock, soul, blues, alt-folk, Americana and even indulged in a little reggae.

His new album, his first recorded and produced in his own home studio in Co. Armagh continues to keep fans on their toes – the opening title track is a monster with a wonderfully soulful funky indie groove.

But sadly the album doesn’t stick with that killer theme.  ‘River Of Time’ sounds like Dire Straits meets Chris de Burgh (which is better than you might think), ‘Watershed’ brings the Big O to mind, while ‘Heart Just Won’t Fail’ is heavily reminiscent of the Mersey’s ‘Sorrow’ (covered by Bowie on ‘Pin Ups’).

‘Before Your Time’ echoes The Boss (with a hint of Dylan) in storytelling gospel mode, ‘Counting Down The Days’ continues in the same theme but takes a more Van The Man bluesy perspective and is another highlight, while ‘You’re Not Alone’ returns to the Big O theme.

‘Flickering Light’ has soulful groove with some lovely slide guitar work, ‘What Is Done’  is another bluesy number, while’ Could Have Done’ is The Eagles crossed with Springsteen tripping down the West Coast.  The closer, ‘Our Father’s Sins’ is simply anthemic.

Recorded digitally, but with an analog warmth, ‘Darkness & Light’ might, on face value, seem a little derivative.  But the truth is, it immediately has the comfort of an old jumper, and on each subsequent listen begins to sound more and more like the best knitwear in town.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).

Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 CORMAC O CAOIMH Swim Crawl Walk Run (indie)

Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREED Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)



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