Last year we reviewed Whiskey Priest by Ben Noble. It received Top Album honors. He is now back with Where The Light Comes In. Suffice it to say his new album is an extension of his talent where he seems to be pushing even more sonic possibilities.
I’m definitely feeling some comparisons to Bon Iver mainly due to the fact they both seem to be searching for undiscovered sounds, textures and tones. By all accounts Where The Light Comes In contains truly inventive and unique production. Perhaps even more importantly however is these sounds he is uncovering add to the emotional presence of the songs. I didn’t feel like I was listening to disparate elements trying to find a way to work together. There is a symbiotic foundation to the song.
The album opens with “Night Waves” and you can hear exactly what I’m talking about in this song. There is a mix of electric piano, auto tuned vocal samples and elements that mutate and filter in front of your ears. The groove that comes together with bass and sax is slick and smooth. I haven’t even got started on his actual vocals which are the focal point. He is expressive, dynamic and can hit upon plenty of emotional frequencies. The song goes in all sorts of directions and at points absolutely soars in unexpected ways.
“Bluebird” might be the most single worthy song. The hook is infectious and reminded me of an off-kilter pop song. “Steady” is another song that stretches production in unique directions. The song organically achieves this. It starts off simple enough with atmosphere, guitar picking and vocals. There are percussive elements, keys and more that emerge and there are moments of beauty on this song that rival a group like Sigur Rós.
“Beneath Your Wings” starts off minimally with piano and vocals. There is no denying these subtle and intimate moments are some of the most powerful on the album. Noble isn’t even close to done exploring with The Radiohead-esque “Turning” or “Weeping Willow” which literally sounds like a slow burn.
The penultimate song “Child of Earth” is a whopping seven-plus-minutes and is a very intense ride of white noise and sonic exploration that is both blissful and overwhelming. He doesn't disappoint with the glorious “My Beautiful Blinding Light.”
Ben Noble is an artist who deserves a lot more attention than he is currently getting. Take a listen and you will hear why. Highly recommended.
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