Mr Ben & The Bens – The Happy Shopper EP. Released via Bingo Records on Vinyl EP.
Following the amazing success of the Bingo Records Split EP, Lancaster polymath Ben Hall, AKA Mr Ben & the Bens is back with four new songs and another UK tour to boot!
Since the release of ‘The Bluest Blues’ and ‘My Museum’ on the split record, Mr Ben has toured the UK with DIY legends The Lovely Eggs, played in session for Marc Riley on BBC Radio 6 Music, watered his houseplants, bought a new hat, eaten at least 17 pieces of toast and had a bath. After all that, it was time to record some new stuff.
Here’s The Happy Shopper EP, out on Bingo Records. The record, due in summer this year, sees Ben continuing to write songs that reflect his own ability to see the noteworthy in the everyday. His ear for a melody shines through the song writing, and the ethos behind the album is firmly rooted in the growing co-operative DIY scene fast becoming synonymous with his home town of Lancaster.
Ben said: “The Happy Shopper EP is a set of four songs I wrote over the Christmas period of 2017. I recorded it over 4 days at Church Road studio in Brighton with producer Theo Verney and drummer Nicholas Klar. The studio is packed with analogue gear so it was a full on assault to use as much of the stuff I don’t have at home as I could. “I went in wanting to use as little post-production as possible to try and get a soul-esque sound to the record, where the instrumentation creates the dynamic rather than the software.
“The EP is called ‘Happy Shopper’ after the home brand of food products available at my local cornershop. That place is often a haven I visit when creative block kicks in, and they have a particularly good selection of maize-based crisps!” The Bens return with lead track ‘How we Used to Write’, offering fans more of the infectious call-and-response melody that made ‘The Bluest Blues’ so popular.
“The first track, ‘How We Used to Write’, is an ode to a lost pen,” says Ben. “I often like writing about inanimate objects as if they were romances. It’s interesting to me when a song appears to be about something, but then you change the subject and completely throw the context off kilter.”
The rest of the album allows Ben to branch out, switching the guitar for piano for two of the record’s tracks, including Fall in Love Again’ and live favourite ‘The Same Rain Falls on Every Soul’. The latter is about a migratory bird watching the human race from above and is also Ben’s first track composed on an upright piano! “At 25, I feel like I should get some sort of certificate,” he said. To end the set, Ben takes a trip to his folk-based acoustic roots, with the lo-fi self-effacement of ‘It’s the End’. Ben added: “This past few months have been mad. Touring with the band was one of the best experiences I’ve had in music, and we’ve met so many amazing people through that. “The support we’ve had from The Lovely Eggs, Marc Riley and Bingo Records is more than I could have hoped for. “I am so excited to release this next album. It’s all happening so fast and I just want to keep on making stuff and getting it out for people to hear.” ‘Happy Shopper’ was recorded by Theo Verney and mastered by Zac Barfoot, of Bingo Records band Sun Drift, with whom Mr Ben shared the previous EP. The Happy Shopper EP comes on heavyweight black wax, with art by Ben Hall himself and a zine by Bingo Records’ Lloyd Bent.
Tracklisting: Mr Ben & The Bens – The Happy Shopper
A1. How We Used to Write – Have a Listen
A2. Fall in Love Again
B1. The Same Rain Falls on Every Soul
B2. It’s the End