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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Ben Brookes

The Motor Car & The Weather Balloon

Review by Gary Hill

Ben Brookes' style of music seems most closely tied to Cat Stevens, but there is also plenty of reference here to acts like Al Stewart and Donovan. All these songs are well written and performed. This is compelling mainstream music that is timeless and classic. There are a lot of bits of soundbites and things in between songs (think Pink Floyd). All in all, this is quite a strong set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Integration (Not Segregation)
The introduction on this almost feels like space rock. From there, though, this works to a cool AOR based pop rock motif. There are hints of Beatles-like music, but this has more of a singer/songwriter thing at the same time. This is timeless and classic in sound and delivery.
I Want To Go Home
There is definitely a proggy edge to this. The cut feels very much like folk prog. I like this number a lot.
Asleep in Galilee
Imagine combining Cat Stevens with Donovan and Al Stewart. You'd probably have something very similar to this intriguing number. It's catchy and tasty.
The Girl Who Cried Wolf
There is more of an intimacy to this piece. It feels like the kind of thing you might hear in a small club. I love this song. It's just so charming. In fact, it might be my favorite song here. Given the competition, that says a lot.
Crack A Smile
This sounds even more like Cat Stevens than "Asleep in Galilee" did. It's another mellower pop rock tune. This is solid stuff with some psychedelia built into it.
Before Sunlight
The echoes of Cat Stevens are still ever-present here. That said, for some reason this makes me think of Simply Red. It's another accessible pop rock song that feels timeless.
Look Thru My Eyes
There is a real jazzy vibe to this number. It was apparently recorded live. I like the whole arrangement, and the cut seems a bit bluesier than the rest.
Stories in the Rain
There is a real Beatles-like vibe at place here. This is an energetic rock cut that has a real 1970s styled sound.
A mellower, balladic cut, the strings add quite a bit to this number. It's a pretty song that's gentle in a lot of ways. That said, the vocal performance packs a punch.
Another that makes me think of Cat Stevens and Al Stewart, this balladic cut serves well to end the set in style.
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