Slow burn, deep cut, damage done: British bluesman is coming of age in spectacular way.
Having garnered accolades from masters of his trade and delivered an album from the Albert Hall stage, Ben Poole has toned down his flash for this studio offering – the guitarist’s first on a label – but that only directed his vigor inwards. It wasn’t so smooth a rise, though, and discontent which set in on the way from 2012’s “Let’s Go Upstairs” to here and now justifies the heartbreak of “Time Might Never Come” by creating a contrast with the record’s title, so there’s a reason for tension.
On the surface from the funk riffs of “Lying To Me” to “The Question Why” leading one sprightly, and tightly, out to the open end, Ben’s anger would be much more chiseled if only Poole’s vocals matched his axe’s cutting edge. Yet when Aynsley Lister and Stevie Nimmo bolster up the youngster’s grip on “I Think I Love You Too Much” to sharpen its pop appeal, and when “You’ve Changed” reveals its organ-oiled gloss, the artist’s soft underbelly is bared. While no handclaps are needed for propelling the epic solo of the aforementioned “Time” piece to the verge of desperation, on the other side of Ben’s emotional spectrum lies “If You Want To Play With My Heart” whose gamely bounce is very infectious, albeit less so than the rockabilly beat of “Stay At Mine” – complete with twang and shuffle.
This works better than the romantically hymnal “Whoever Invented Love” but… now that Ben Poole’s time has come – big time – his blues can, and should, fly.