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Awake Is the New Sleep
     

Awake Is the New Sleep

5.0 1
by Ben Lee
 

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Child prodigies too often don’t have anything left in the tank when they hit legal drinking age, but this Aussie -- who’s been recording for more than half of his 26 years on the planet -- has proven to be a most emphatic exception. On this, his most fully realized disc to date, Lee alternates between channeling sunny Summer of Love vibes and the acoustic angst of

Overview

Child prodigies too often don’t have anything left in the tank when they hit legal drinking age, but this Aussie -- who’s been recording for more than half of his 26 years on the planet -- has proven to be a most emphatic exception. On this, his most fully realized disc to date, Lee alternates between channeling sunny Summer of Love vibes and the acoustic angst of early solo Lennon. He’s most charming on the former, thanks to songs like the simple-but-insistent sing-along “We’re All in This Together” -- on which he airs an unabashed desire for universal love without worrying about being met with snickers. “Gamble Everything for Love,” which pushes along with a nod to Richard Thompson, has a similar tone, but Lee’s admission that all could be lost adds an extra note of poignancy. There are hints of melancholy -- leftovers from his split with Claire Danes, no doubt -- on songs like “Ache for You,” but overall, Awake Is the New Sleep is a remarkably upbeat collection. That tenor -- along with the inexorable catchiness of tracks like “Catch My Disease” (on which Lee un-ironically name-checks both Beyoncé and Good Charlotte) -- ensures that Awake remains refreshing, listen after listen.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Like most musicians who make a splash in their teens, Ben Lee has had a hard time finding his footing in his twenties. First, his American record label, Grand Royal, closed after the release of his 1999 album Breathing Tornados, and then, during the first half of the 2000s, shifting pop trends -- plus a general unspoken consensus that he was no longer a pop wunderkind now that he was in his twenties -- pushed him out of the limelight. He managed to get an album out in his native Australia in 2002, a move that didn't get nearly as much attention in the U.S. as his 2003 breakup with celebrity girlfriend Claire Daines. So, approaching the halfway point of his twenties and the 2000s, Lee was adrift, but he managed to regroup, at least artistically, with his 2005 album Awake Is the New Sleep. Reteaming with renowned indie rock producer Brad Wood, who helmed his 1997 LP Something to Remember Me By, Lee returns to the gently melodic, tentatively introspective indie pop that marked his best work of the '90s, but there is a difference here. Where that record, along with much of his previous work, was marked by a shy innocence, Lee is older now. He's been through the wringer and has had his heart broken, and it's given his music a greater emotional resonance. That alone would have made Awake Is the New Sleep noteworthy, but what makes it stand alongside Something to Remember Me By as his strongest album is that he's written a strong, melodic set of songs and Wood has given them a colorful but unadorned production that gives each tune its own character. It's not a great change -- he's still a gentle, low-key pop singer/songwriter in the vein of Evan Dando -- but the subtle changes in tone and perspective make Awake Is the New Sleep a nice, low-key comeback and an album that proves that Lee is beginning to reach his musical maturation.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/22/2005
Label:
New West Records
UPC:
0607396607020
catalogNumber:
6070
Rank:
111341

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ben Lee   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Vocals
Jason Falkner   Background Vocals
Eric Gardner   Drums
Brad Wood   Bass,Percussion,Drums,Saxophone,Vocals
Chick Wolverton   Percussion
Graciana Silva Garcia   Background Vocals
Jason Schwartzman   Drums
Har Mar Superstar   Background Vocals
Rob Hann   Bass
Jason Boesel   Background Vocals
Jenny Lewis   Background Vocals
McGowan Southworth   Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards,Vocals
Scarlett Chorvatt   Background Vocals
Lara Meyerratken   Percussion,Drums,Keyboards,Vocals
Katie Mulcahy   Background Vocals
Melanie Sirmons   Background Vocals
Olivia Asta Wood   Background Vocals
Sam Spiegel   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Brad Wood   Programming,Producer,Engineer,drum programming,Audio Production
Ben Lee   Composer,Artwork
Dan Estabrook   Artwork
McGowan Southworth   Composer
Burt Goldstein   Management
David Leinheardt   Management
Lara Meyerratken   Artwork,Atmosphere

Customer Reviews

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Awake Is the New Sleep 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Actually, if you like chill music, this is perfect. Good road music, and a smaller verson of the mayers, matthews, johnsons out there, be aware, he is on the rise. Overall its a good cd, gamble everything for love, rhyme and reason are two good tracks. Check out his other cds too.