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Ben Kweller - Sha Sha (679 Recordings)

Ben Kweller is quirky and he really wants you to know it. Being quirky means affected vocals, quizzical musical touches and "ironic" popular culture references, all here in ridiculous quantities. This is like having your teeth pulled by maniac Brian Wilson while Weezer tune their guitars with your toenails by way of a pedicure.

I suppose it's supposed to be amusing and oh so terribly arch and clever. It's actually just bad. In no way does it deserve an eloquent slagging. No - base, Neanderthal language will do. "I am the book and you are the binding," he sings on 'Family tree'. What the fuck? Seemingly this has just been tossed out. Where's the effort? Not in the repetitive, repetitive, repetitive music or in the...very...dull...vocals. There's nothing to back up the admittedly professional melodies and nothing to make the listener crave a second listen. Frankly, I regret the first.

Allow me to digress a moment. It's the fact that this got made instead of something by a band with vision. This album's hideous nature lies in its massive plagiarism. It's too obvious whom Kweller listens to and too obvious exactly where the songs are going, especially as there is precious little deviation. Ben has nothing new to say, and no original way in which to say it. I never thought I'd say this, but get a Weezer record instead. At least they try. I rue the loss of another record contract that a worthwhile band will now never receive.

Dominic Body

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