Monday, July 11, 2011


Ben Lamdin has been a busy boy between his last album, and this, his fourth, working as producer, engineer, musician and on projects with, amongst many others, Jeb Loy Nichols, Lizzy Parks, Larry Stabbins, Alice Russell and his own Nostalgia 77 Octet. Probably due to these many influences, ‘The Sleepwalking Society’ changes the vibe a little from ‘Everything Under The Sun’ – there is a more bluesy and folksy theme, although the core jazz sound still remains, and we have the use of a single vocalist, German-born Rosa Peit, which gives the album a certain consistency and discreteness.

The quality of the music is, as you would expect from Ben, top-drawer, but this is accompanied but an assured intensity that flows through each of the tracks, even the more laid back instrumental jazz tunes such as ‘When Love Is Strange’ and the closing track, ‘Hush’. On the vocal tracks, Rosa’s voice builds on this intensity, perfectly suited to the yearning rhythms – just listen to the interplay of these on the brief, but disconcerting, ‘Golden Morning’. The more upbeat tracks such as ‘Blue Shadow’ and the single, ‘Simmerdown’, allow Rosa to show off her blues voice over delectable 3-and-a-half-minute pop songs. The LP is a real antidote to the manufactured output of the major labels and also a pretty good cure to any stresses you might have – play it at the end of a hard days work and you’ll see exactly what we mean. ‘The Sleepwalking Society’ is out now on Tru Thoughts Records.

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