After laying on the free tracks, mixes, acoustic covers and various other enticing treats, Ben Westbeech was finally ready to drop his sophomore album onto the world.
On hearing that Ben's first, Bristol bred, souled-out album was being followed up with a "House Inspired" album that was intended to be played with full band and put out on house giant Strictly Rhythm, I was equally intrigued and excited.
I've read a couple of people dubbing it popped out radio play music that is not "house." Well nah, it's not, because it was never supposed to be "house" music. "House Inspired" has always been the mantra, which leaves space for equal measures of soul, predominantly from Ben's voice, disco, and also something else entirely.
Stream: Ben Westbeech – The Book (produced by George Levin)
Some of the tracks are definitely radio-friendly and play host to some very, very catchy hooks and choruses that bore into your brain, make a nice little nest, get married, have a couple of kids and probably send them to school before they show any signs of leaving. But really, what is wrong with that when the production is soo good?
Stream: Ben Westbeech – Same Thing (produced by Chocolate Puma)
Personal favourites include "Stronger" and "Justice", the former being maybe the most naturally club friendly on the album and the second, although getting into some sticky water lyrically and not really unearthing anything we haven't heard before, has a disco groove that is completely infectious.
Stream: Ben Westbeech – Inflections (produced by Henrik Schwarz)
"Inflections" is a bit of a masterpiece and "Same Things" definitely has some disco infused funk that reminds me of early Jamiroquai.
All in all a pretty standout album that spans several genres. It can be both thought provoking and uplifting equally at different times. It's good to see the evolution of Mr Westbeech and maybe next time we can see an unholy union, of Bens alternative moniker Breach fused with Ben Westbeech himself.
Stream – Ben Westbeech – Stronger (produced by Midland)