Ben Everyman combines powerful simplicity, haunting melodies and a dose of sardonic wit in a compact package. The singer and songwriter based in Vancouver, BC draws upon the lyricism of folk greats such as Leonard Cohen and the soulful twang of vintage country artists like Johnny Cash, twisting guitar and a rare vocal style into genre-bending musical works.
Awash with poetic meanderings, at times filled with wry humour and others gripping melancholy, the music of Ben Everyman draws us in to an argument on the banalities of life. The sounds are delicately infectious; the melodies bore into the brain while the words seek to find use for the mundane, to create something fantastic from the ordinary.
Sometimes the simplest things in life offer the richest pleasures. Such is the case with Iconoplastic, the debut album by singer and songwriter Ben Everyman. A lonely gut string guitar intertwines with rhythmic verse, giving the listener ample space to hear the magic that lies between the lines. Captivatingly stark melodies breathe openly in the absence of cloying complexity creating a hauntingly unique soundscape.
Iconoplastic shuffles across a great swath of musical ground; foot-stomping minimalist folk songs such as “Ladeda” give way to somber ballads like “Birds’ Songs”. Our guide Ben Everyman leads the way — not with torch and compass, but with thoughtful lyricism and elegantly crafted melodies.
While Everyman’s debut effort tips its hat to folk and country roots, it also exists somewhere between: in a place where the lines are blurry from too much drink and not enough sleep – where the songs serve no masters but themselves. Ben’s knack for distilling music into its purest elements is a soothing tonic for the ears in an age of synthetic perfection.
To preserve the essence of the music, the entire album was recorded by producer Eric Lowerison — in one pass over 48 hours — in a dank attic with no smoke or mirrors. The proof can be heard throughout: someone’s foot-tapping in the background; birds joining in the chorus from the window sill; the creaking of aged floorboards — minor inclusions in an unpolished gemstone. The result is a diamond in the rough: 8 tracks of potently authentic songs that unite listener and evocator, transporting them singularly to the moment of creation.