Something Old Something New

New Ben Franklins

Independent release, 2015

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Denver's New Ben Franklins have existed since way back in 1992, when the band began to bridge the sounds of The Sisters Of Mercy with pop-influenced tunes, complete with programmed drums. This incarnation of the band released a trio of albums and found regional success, though by the mid '90s New Ben Franklins had undergone nearly a decade of line up changes.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With new members came a stylistic shift in sound towards retro country, yet with a noisey and sonically challenging template that was solidified in 2012 with their breakout album titled (peter gabriel). 2015's Something Old Something New was actually released with a companion album titled Something Borrowed Something Blue (which is an album entirely of covers). The release illustrates the progression and current chemistry of this criminally overlooked outfit.

This album of original cuts to the chase with the warm, rustic guitar work of the opening tune “Beautiful Queen,” which is a hard luck story set to the sort of gritty Americana that so many aging punks are making these days, and it sounds just as good as icons like Tim Barry or Chuck Ragan. Other songs, like the bouncing, barnyard stomper “I Don't Know What's Wrong With You Why Won't You Break My Heart?,” are more rooted in country, though the band doesn’t forget their post-punk heritage with tense, rumbling of “Quite Like You.”

Though much of this album is thinking person's music, New Ben Franklins isn’t opposed to getting you out on the dance floor, like on the short, speedy “Here Comes Chris.” Still, the longer, more involved songs like “Pied Piper” or “Blind (Molly Giere Blues #23)” are among the best here. The former is reminiscent reminiscent of The Smiths in more of a hazy than quirky way, and the latter reflects on waning love, moving from soft and jangling to a fuzzed out rocker.

It looks like these Coloradans are still quite active, releasing a new album in 2017 and doing plenty of live shows. Their approach and delivery ranks up there with Colorado alt-country favorites Drag The River, and this release deserves a listen for fans between punk and country.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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