Ben Kweller released his latest album, Go Fly A Kite, this morning and it's the perfect mix of Pop, Rock and Country. Those familiar with Kweller will find more of what we've grown to love: toe-tapping melodies, 70's inspired riffs and heartfelt piano ballads. His fifth album and first on his own label, The Noise Company, finds him more open to blending genres and creating a sound for himself.
The lead single and album opener, Mean To Me, is a perfect example of the energy you'll find on most of his albums, complete with a loud guitar and crashing cymbals. The horns at the end are the difference between a long lost track from 2002's Sha Sha and the 2012 version of himself. Follow that with Out The Door, an acoustic tune with a train track beat that sweetens when a George Harrison inspired electric guitar joins the mix.
Very few artists use the piano as well as Ben Kweller. Jealous Girl uses the piano as a driving force, much like Jackson Browne's Running on Empty, with amazing results. Full Circle incorporates what he learned on 2009's Country-heavy, Changing Horses with soaring harmonies, a slight twang and a subdued accordion. The Rainbow could have been incredibly plain, but the strings add so much to the tone and lyrics.
The only misstep, Time Will Save The Day sounds disjointed from the rest of the album. Maybe it's the inclusion of strong electric guitar or the fast pace after so many slower songs. Either way, it's the only mistake he makes, overextending himself a bit. You Can Count On Me continues the fine tradition of closing songs on Ben Kweller albums. An optimistic, sing-a-long that sounds like a promise we've all made at one time or another.
The honest truth is that Ben Kweller could make a million albums that sound good. In fact, I don't think any of his albums would ever be considered bad. It's his continued growth and confidence that makes Go Fly A Kite much better than anything else he's done. Please pick up the album and catch him on tour, including a stop at Lincoln Hall, March 31st.