Exploring lighter shade of blue, British artist embraces young segment of his fandom and becomes a heartthrob.
There’s logical progression from 2016’s "Time Has Come" to this album which also deals with temporal matters, yet those who wished that Ben Poole matured and turned into a seasoned bluesman will find him gone the other way to trade depth for immediate pleasure of seeing an adoring crowd. Nothing wrong with that, of course, because there’s a lot of class in the artist’s mostly sleek moves, and sliding down the lucid end of Delta-minded spectrum can allure teen audiences to the right kind of music.
Yes, the punchy and funky title track and the splashy cover of Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” may push forward seductive elements of Poole’s approach, his languid vocals actually feeding the piece’s organ-lubricated jive, but once guitar licks melt into a couple of short, vigorous solos the artist’s true emotions are revealed – to be taken to the limit by the fuzzy riff of “Take It No More” whose unhurried flow is simply irresistible. Ben is at his best when he’s whipping up tenderness out of classic tropes for the expansive “Don’t Cry For Me” that’s fantastically painful, yet if the soft balladry of “Found Out The Hard Way” would be difficult to misplace, especially with mellifluously molten twang at the fore, numbers such as “You Could Say” – taut and infectious as they are – careen toward sunny pop.
Elsewhere, the tentative heaviness that’s driving “Further On Down The Line” gives it a delicious edge, and the Hammond swirl fleshes out Poole’s take on Jude Cole’s “Start The Car” in fine fashion. Still, an almost wild, somewhat ancient sharpness of “Let Me Be” and hefty, vibrant sway which helps propel “Holding On” to desperate ecstasy demonstrate Ben hasn’t completely abandon the primal roar he’d been striving for from the start and can return there one day. As of now we know where to go if need be, and it’s a genuinely good, princely place.