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Ben Folds Five is Back — ‘The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind’ Album Review

Ben Folds Five The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind
ImaVeePee Records

If you ask me, the world needs more bands like Ben Folds Five.

Why? For starters, band namesake Ben Folds rocks a piano like few others can, weaves a musical story line exceptionally well and is extremely fun to see play live. (I highly, highly suggest you snatch up a ticket to the band’s show at Kleinhans on Friday, October 5.)

Comprised of Darren Jessee (drums and percussion), Robert Sledge (bass and various other instruments) and Folds (piano, duh?), Ben Folds Five (and Folds as a solo artist) have never been uber-popular — except for that one song about abortion that everyone knows, and maybe that other one that namechecks Michael Jackson, Quiet Riot and hemorrhoid ointment — but have been putting out some truly solid albums (I’m including Folds’ solo efforts, too) since the early ’90s. Their latest disc, The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind, being released on Tuesday (September 18) and funded entirely by a PledgeMusic campaign, is no exception.

Whether they’re being sorta experimental and pounding the bejesus out of their instruments on “Erase Me,” the album’s lead track, getting all retro (think hipster Beach Boys) on “Michael Praytor, Five Years Later” or playing a piano line that reminds me of something you’d hear in a Western movie on “Do It Anyway,” the Ben Folds Five we know and love is totally back.

Plus, with lines like “She broke down and cried at the strip mall acupuncture” (“Hold That Thought”), how can you resist? Like I said, Folds is so darn good at telling stories in his songs — the album’s title track, for example, or “Eddie Walker” — that you almost gotta wonder if the dude’s got multiple personalities or is hearing voices in his head or something.

My personal favorites? So glad you asked! “Away When You Were Here” is Just. So. Pretty. But “Draw A Crowd,” which starts with some serious harmony, might be my new favorite. An honorable mention goes to “On Being Frank,” which somehow reminds me of something you might find on a Beatles or Elton John album. I think it was the intro.

If you weren’t one of the 7,525 to pre-order The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind during Ben Folds Five’s PledgeMusic drive, I highly suggest you go grab it on Tuesday. Plus, my name’s in the liner notes (#ImADamVP), so that’s pretty sweet, right?

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