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Benjamin Booker

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Benjamin Booker 

Rough Trade / Remote Control

 

Touring with Jack White and appearing on Letterman would be bucket list items for most career musicians, yet Benjamin Booker had ticked them off before even releasing his debut album. As such, the self-titled debut from the New Orleans-based Booker comes with quite some hype, and mostly manages to fulfil it.

Lead single, Violent Shiver, gets things off to a rollicking start, establishing Booker’s muddled blend of garage rock, blues and old-fashioned rock’n’roll right from the beginning. The song opens with Booker’s guitar playing emulating classic Chuck Berry, before Max Norton’s drums take over and Booker’s vocals join in to transform the song into a punky, garage rock number. This is Booker at his most upbeat and impressive, and when he replicates this style on Wicked Waters and Old Hearts, the album is at its most enjoyable.

Ballads Slow Coming and I Thought I Heard You Screaming showcase Booker’s versatility, as the songs chug along in the vein of very early Black Keys and his vocals gain an otherworldly depth.

It’s an entertaining debut that heralds Booker as a rising star of the blues rock scene and gives hope that he has much more in store for us.

 

KEIRON COSTELLO

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