The Ben Lee splits feature five unreleased Ben Lee songs and five
songs by lesser known artists, creating a modern day version of the
classic vinyl split-7 inch single. A concept well worth appropriating.
The songs by Lee alone make this collection of splits worth
downloading. He shows his Aussie roots on two occasions, covering
Kylie Minogue's Confide in Me and Ratcat's That Ain't Bad. The
Minogue song is bare bones, but Lee does a nice job of bringing out
its darker side. That Ain't Bad is a live track recorded in Sydney
almost two years ago. It doesn't rock like the original, but Lee gives
it his own youthful touch.
Lee also throws in a pleasantly depressing cover of I Don't Know
What You Want But I Can't Give it Anymore by the Pet Shop Boys.
The song is somewhat forgettable, but it worth it for Lee's rationale
for recording the tune. "I have always loved that (The Pet Shop Boys)
write sad dance music," Lee says. "Lonely lovely boy music. This one
hits the spot." Scary.
Two original tracks round out the Lee offerings. Mistakes in the Key
of Orange begins with a groovy little spacy instrumental before it
turns into a typical old school guitar driven dirge. In The Morning
sounds more like an idea for a song than an actual song, probably
because that's what it is. Lee, who recently left Grand Royal, says a
finished version of this track will probably end up on his next album
once he finds a record deal.
The five flip sides range from simplistic German electronic music to
annoying catchy novelty pop. Tracks by the Action Suits, New Buffalo
and Ben Kweller are all worth a second listen.
The best thing about the splits is the concept. It introduces Ben Lee
fans to bands they may never have heard otherwise. That's a good
thing. Listeners aren't going to find their new favorite band here, but
at least they could increase their appreciation for different sounds.
On the down side, each split combines the Ben Lee song and the
lesser flip side into one MP3. It's a little annoying, but savvy users
can edit it into two tracks. If that's too tough, suck it up. Remember,
all this is free. So quit the damn bellyaching.