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Weekend Intermission – Ben Fusch (UK) – Step Aside (single)

We haven’t had a Weekend Intermission for a while and this is an unusual one in several ways.

Ben Fusch is English and does not have a background I can trace in music, having qualified with an MBA in which his speciality was Artificial Intelligence (AI). That put me on guard because we have had AI song submissions before but this work is au naturel, there’s no ‘overlap’ between academic background and musical career.

He seems to have been releasing songs internationally, as a series of singles, rather than as an album.

His songs tackle a wide range of subjects, from ‘passive love’ to lack of family support to heartbreak and loss to hiding behind an online persona to reflections on youth and ageing.

The sample track I selected though is quite different and wholly apt with a UK General Election taking place this week, one in France as I write and of course Biden vs. Trump Round 2 in November. ‘Step Aside’ is an attack on politicians globally. Perhaps it is what most of them should do.

Firstly, a note about his stylisation. It isn’t one you are likely to have come across before in NMC. Actually it isn’t quite so evident on this particular song but it is roughly dateable to, well, anywhere between the 1950s and 1980s but not since, with big, powerful statements made with gusto, often to a striking orchestral background and crashing piano notes with the imprint of Elton John that carry strong if sometimes half-formed melodies.

If I hadn’t already used Dean Friedman as an analogy a few weeks ago I would probably be pointing to him as a comparison here, except that Ben rocks a fair bit harder.

‘Step Aside’ starts as it means to go on with strident strings and drums in a slightly odd metre. Later it is joined by synthesisers and a choir and there is so much going on that it does overwhelm you a little (and the production gets somewhat muddled on account of it, too) and perhaps might benefit from some unbundling.

Ben’s vocals are purposeful, authoritative and straight to the point. I do think he rushes things a little, which gives him a harsher tone than he might have otherwise but at the same time that also gives him a unique vocal. I certainly can’t think of anyone else who sounds quite like him at the moment, and that can’t be a bad thing for sure.

I took a brief listen to the next single that follows on, on Spotify – ‘Anytime soon’ – which has shades of Billy Joel about it, then ‘The same’, which is flavoured with gospel.

There’s definitely plenty of variety there and it will interesting to watch which direction his music career takes. He seems to have plenty of options.

Find him on:




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