Ben Montague is a British singer-songwriter who has received some success in the UK with a few pop singles. As a newcomer to his style and sound, I was looking to embrace his latest album Back Into Paradise with open arms, ready to be won over with a mix of song writing expertise and multi-instrumental musicianship. What did I find? Everything except those two things.
I feel sad to say that Back Into Paradise is one of the most uninteresting albums I’ve ever listened to. None of the songs have stuck with me and rather upon trying to intently listen to the album, I felt as though all the songs mixed together and didn’t hold their own. Fans of his may protest but a whopping 5/10 of the songs on this album have the exact same bass drumbeat.
This album lacks variety in any shape or form. The instruments are the same throughout, and they barely change in the way that they are used. Montague’s vocals do not reach ridiculous heights or even attempt to challenge his range. Without stretching the vocals in away way, there is no way that a song can be emotive. To stay at one level is to not build and none of these tracks successfully build. They all follow the same exact format structure wise. Without fun melodic expression, the tracks are hindered from being catchy or diverse.
If there is anything that can surely save this album it must be Montague’s singer-songwriter skills? Unfortunately not. While on his website the album is stated as raw and emotional, to me this album reeks of lyrical clichés that are so ineffective of garnering a personal story. The opening lyric of Serendipity is ‘I’ve got a penny in my pocket, but I still don’t see no change’. If this isn’t enough to demonstrate my point, I don’t know what is.
This album for me is a pedestrian pop attempt that fails at being pop at all – it is not catchy, it is not fresh and it feels like an attempt at song from The Fray or The Script that lacks any sort of inventive emotional courage.