Ben Ratliff's EP "Misplaced Desire" is a double-barrelled blues shotgun, powered equally by Ratliff's icy baritone vocals and his and Jeff Winter's chunky guitar riffs, with support from a solid rhythm section and production that strikes a good balance between clean and moody.
Ratliff's raw, rootsy sound comes out of city and country blues traditions, but the songwriting takes in other forms, from the heavy-metal drawl of "Leviathan" - an apocalyptic indictment of the Bush oiligopoly - to the bluesy tango of the closer "You Never Miss:"
You were trouble, I might have guessed
A Jezebel in a cocktail dress...
On the outside, a southern belle
With a tongue fired up in hell
I beg and plead for one more kiss
You know I'm always like this
Cause you never miss
Ratliff maintains his grim energy through the minor-key blues of "Permanent Midnight," which has a Ray Wylie Hubbard vibe, the lost-love lyrics of the chunky country waltz "Time Slips Away," and the insistent beat of the original folk-ballad "My Dayz" where Ratliff's vocals seem to channel Ian Anderson at his wryest.
Highly recommended for roots-music fans everywhere.
--Jon Sobel, Blogcritics.org
Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Ben Ratliff rolls out a new EP recorded in the summer of 2003. This is Ben's first solo release with a band, featuring five fresh tracks in the rock vein. While his work with Sexfresh traversed a number of musical genres, "Misplaced Desire" sits firmly in the rock realm, making a pit stop in country with the song "Time Slips Away," and dipping a toe in the lounge world with the track "You Never Miss." The lead track, "Leviathan" -- sort of a cross between Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" and Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" -- offers a metaphorical analysis of the Bush administration and its fear-mongering modus operandi. The rock is heartfelt and the production is top-notch. You won't be disappointed.
-- Jason Felmore, Humbucker Magazine