Emoticons

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim DiGravina
With Emoticons, Ben Parker and Jason Hazeley have crafted an austere pop album both of the times and of a timeless quality. Most of the songs deal with love, relationships, anguish, or joy, or some combination of these four motifs. The second track, "Air Guitar," is the first sign of the great treats to be found later in the album. It's a bouncy track reminiscent of the post-Beatles work of Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Its light, airy textures sound nearly magical, thanks to Parker's jew's-harp and Hazeley's accordion, shaker, and -- believe it or not -- chest of drawers. Though the subject matter is miles away thematically, the song brings to mind the cheese ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim DiGravina
With Emoticons, Ben Parker and Jason Hazeley have crafted an austere pop album both of the times and of a timeless quality. Most of the songs deal with love, relationships, anguish, or joy, or some combination of these four motifs. The second track, "Air Guitar," is the first sign of the great treats to be found later in the album. It's a bouncy track reminiscent of the post-Beatles work of Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Its light, airy textures sound nearly magical, thanks to Parker's jew's-harp and Hazeley's accordion, shaker, and -- believe it or not -- chest of drawers. Though the subject matter is miles away thematically, the song brings to mind the cheese grater and other kitchen utensils Robyn Hitchcock utilized on Respect. "Smiling Shy" is a bit of a stretch for the band; half of it is charming, as Parker attempts the same sort of poignancy as Thom Yorke à la "Fake Plastic Trees," but Parker lacks Yorke's range, so the song ultimately becomes more grating than ingratiating. "Cartoon Heart" sees Parker singing dreamily romantic lyrics in a sort of sped-up ballad. On "What I Meant to Say," Parker starts off in a lower range, so when he does hit his highs, it's quite an endearing effect. "Trapped Behind the Glass" sounds if it was recorded underwater. It is another highpoint of the album, emotionally and musically, detailing an individual's self-doubts. "Romeo and Juliet are Drowning" once again sees Parker in Thom Yorke mode, this time creating a bittersweet tenderness as he tells someone perhaps himself that he or she is in a "mad if you want her, mad if you don't" situation and shouldn't let her slip away -- it's the usual tale of unrequited love, and it works entirely. "Dear Sally" has further echoes of McCartney and perhaps Crowded House in that band's more lighthearted moments, as the song bops along with an otherworldly grace. All in all, Emoticons is a beautifully arranged album, full of many pop charms. If it overstays its welcome at times, Ben & Jason make up for it with more charisma than you'll find on ten other albums combined.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/7/2001
  • Label: Polygram Int'l
  • UPC: 731454776721
  • Catalog Number: 547767

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Widow's Walk (4:10)
  2. 2 Air Guitar (3:30)
  3. 3 Smiling Shy (4:17)
  4. 4 Cartoon Heart (4:17)
  5. 5 Say Come (4:08)
  6. 6 What I Meant to Say (2:58)
  7. 7 Emoticons (4:26)
  8. 8 Trapped Behind the Glass (4:38)
  9. 9 Halfway up a Tree (3:37)
  10. 10 Romeo and Juliet Are Drowning (5:18)
  11. 11 Dear Sally (4:02)
  12. 12 I'll Always Want You (4:29)
  13. 13 Play for Today (3:40)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ben & Jason Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Henry Lowther Flugelhorn
Lucy Wilkins Violin
Calina de la Mare Violin
Sara Wilson Cello
Howard Gott Violin
Dan Anthony French Horn
Everton Nelson Violin
Amanda Drummond Viola
Andy Nice Cello
Andy Waterworth Double Bass
Clare Raybould Violin
Louise Peacock Violin
Ian Burdge Cello
Ruth Gottlieb Violin
Dominic Glover Trumpet
Tom Aitkenhead Electric Guitar, Tabla
Jason Hazeley Synthesizer, Piano, Accordion, Bass Drums, Harpsichord, Hammond Organ, Tambourine, Triangle, Hand Clapping, Shaker, Omnichord, fender rhodes, Cabasa, Hi Hat
Chris Worsey Cello
Brian G. Wright Violin
Tim Myall Violin
Richard George Violin
Natalia Bonner Violin
Vincent Greene Viola
Noel Vine Violin
Nick Thistleton Electric Harpsichord
Robert Spriggs Viola
Michael Smith Tenor Saxophone
Laurence Davies French Horn
Lynette Eaton Double Bass
Richard Ashton French Horn
Technical Credits
Paul Long Producer
Ian Cooper Mastering
Niall Acott Engineer
Nick Scripps Engineer
Tom Jenkins Engineer
Niall Acett Engineer
Tom Aitkenhead Producer, Engineer, drum machine
Jason Hazeley Arranger, Producer, Contributor, String Arrangements, Orchestral Arrangements
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