Ben Watt’s career is a treasure we keep from the eighties to nowadays and the self realization of a complete artist. He is best known as one half of Everything But The Girl, one of the bands that, from the beginning of the eighties to the end of the nineties, created some of the most elegant pages of pop music, representing the acoustic side of new pop.
After the international success of “Missing” (a dancefloor blockbuster still danced worldwide), Ben decided to go back to his roots and composed his first folk album. But he needed something else and the new dance panorama saw him as a main character, becoming an awarded deep house dj, producing many popular remixes and founding some labels (such as Buzzin’Fly Records). The need to express feelings and personal experiences led him to write some books of memories and, in 2014, to go back to his first love, folk music: Hendra (2014) and Fever Dream (2016) are some of Ben’s best productions ever.
Storm Damage (out for Unmade Road) represents an intense recovery of folk and west coast sounds, and the love for Tim Buckley and James Taylor gives birth to delicate and elegant pop songs. In “Balanced On A Wire”, electronics and piano embody the anxiety of a teenager leaving home for the first time: “My kids were teenagers leaving home for the first time when I wrote this song. I was moved by their mixture of anxiety and determination. It reminded me of being nineteen myself”. “Summer Ghosts” hypnotizes for the beauty of the refrain: “And when you look back you find you haven’t travelled far You thought you’d changed until reminded who you are”. “Retreat To Find” is a jewel of sorrowful folk, in which acoustic guitar leads the game. “Figures In The Landscape”, with its delicate piano and drums, invites us to live day by day: “One more day to live through, take a stand One more day to live for, clap your hands”.
Song after song, it is difficult to remain not involved to this intense, sincere and mature album, full of beautiful songs. Storm Damage is a good chance to listen to something positive in these chaotic times.