Published May 29, 2015This year marks the 20th since Ben Lee's first album, and during that time, he has constantly looked forward and back. In 2005, he released his fan favourite, Awake is the New Sleep, inspired by a trip to India that left him with the message that he would succeed if he put joy into his music.
Ben Lee then went out of his musical comfort zone in his 2011 concept album, Deeper Into Dream, and 2013 saw the release of his experimental album, Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work. Now, he's looking back with Love is the Great Rebellion, which sounds like a continuation of his successful 2005 album, both of which were produced by Brad Wood. The lead single, "Big Love," is the song that really gives it away — it even has a melody similar to "Catch My Disease."
His new album draws on themes of holding on and letting go in the context of love and death. Songs such as "Everybody Dies," about his father dying when he was just 19, deal with heavy topics, but Lee's happy philosophy, sparkling guitar, driving drums and uplifting lyrics make the song's more uplifting than sad. "Victory" demonstrates the spirit of the self-reflective album with a grooving funk guitar riff, hopeful horns and lyrics about reflecting on our past honestly and growing from it.
Love is the Great Rebellion shows more of Ben Lee's spiritual growth than musical growth, so fans who were attached to the more adventurous departures of his recent work may be disappointed here, but those still clapping along to "Catch My Disease" and "Begin" will surely find comfort in the album. (Warner Bros.)