I accidentally stumbled over Radical Face because I was prepping one of my super-special Halloween-special-song-collections and he did one of the songs that fit and I was instantly caught and added not only that song but the whole album to my “2013: That’s what I listened to”-Playlist on Spotify which is my melting pot for bands I really enjoyed or plan to listen to thoroughly later. So, I stumbled over that album at work while I was listening to that list on random and it blew me away.
It seriously blew me away.
Above: the song you will see again in a post in a couple of weeks
Now, because I love music and great musicians and great songs, it might sound as if I get blown away pretty much every day every hour but no Sir, I get surprised, I get intrigued and I get drawn into good music but to blow me away, it takes a little more and Radical Face aka Ben Cooper has that little more and a bag of chips.
Ok, so before we start with the music, here’s the Wikipedia-story on the name. Ben Cooper wandered along the streets one day and found this flyer with that phrase on it and he liked it so much that he took it on as a name. Turns out that it was a flyer for a plastic surgeon and the whole phrase was “Radical Face Lift”. That is some a-class story about a band-name right here.
Cooper actually does music since 2003 (or rather, he releases music since then) and there is a free album out called “Junkyard Chandelier” that was hidden for many a year. However, his most ambitious project is a trilogy (+ an EP) called “Family Tree” which means CONCEPT ALBUMS! Gosh, I love concept albums. The first “The Roots” has been released in 2011 and is currently on heavy rotation on my playlists. It is a mixture of Villagers and Bright Eyes as it has the same folksy beauty interspersed with slightly sinister and/or experimental bits that grow out of the woodwork. A backwoods banjo slowly trodding along a dark piano-melody and ghostly background vocals in “Kin” or the sudden drop of a joyful hymn to a pensive heartbreak in “Always Gold”
…there are these earthy, rural skills of songwriting mixed with the experimental drive of the neo-folk/freak-folk movement and because those experiments never overtake the overall song-structure and story-telling, there’s never the point where you get disconnected with the emotional bond of these songs. Gee, I would marry these albums if polygamy wouldn’t be illegal in Germany. But seriously, this is the kind of music that I listen to when I really feel like I can’t shake off the heavy chains of Murphy’s Law, the daily routine and the ongoing rumble in the back of my head. This is what I listen to when I need some comfort and when I want to feel like I am not on my own with all this hubbub.
In October (US) or November (Europe), Cooper will release the second album called “The Branches” and there will also be a new EP coming soon. Oh, and because people like Ben Cooper don’t think that one brilliant music project is enough, he obviously also has roughly thousand other bands like Electric President and Iron Orchestra.