The introduction to this debut solo album by English born Colorado, USA musician Ben Prytherch (pronounced Pri’-thərk, as per the record’s liner notes) is a spoken word monologue from the man himself thanking you, the listener, for your wise purchase and advising that the best songs lie at the end, so to please stick with the record for its full duration. A fitting start to what is an entirely good natured, self-deprecating and honest debut.
A bassist by trade, Prytherch plays all instruments on this release (vocals, guitar, bass, percussion and other bits and pieces) to great effect, with sweet, touching guitar solos in songs like “I Only Smoke When I Drink”. From the steam-train rhythm of “The Last Girl Who Turned Me Down” to the sparse and mellow “Rain Machine”, this album is as diverse as a bedroom-recorded solo album can be, with themes ranging from loves lost, to those never given a chance to blossom, to that between a man and his liquor.
The main point of contention of this album would be Prytherch’s limited vocal range, but with further exposure as a front-man, one would expect future outings to carry a little more variety.
Prytherch’s bass credentials are perhaps best displayed on “I’ll Just Pant” with its bubbling, funk inspired low-end permeating every facet of the track. This is perhaps a little out of place given the laid back nature of the rest of the album, but is so infectious this transgression is easily forgiven and the song ends with an excellent layering of reverbed guitar against the bass lead. ‘Secret’ final track, “Melissa” is an amazing display of modern songwriting and absolutely deserved a proper listing on the record sleeve.
Rarely are songs this personal coupled with such good humour as displayed here. With song titles like “There’s Nothing so Boring as My Broken Heart” and title track “Songs to Make Love to your Boyfriend By” it’s clear that Prytherch doesn’t take life’s little kidney-punches as seriously as the rest of the Livejournal Generation and instead finds refreshing new angles on what are essentially classic folk-rock themes.
A beautifully packaged and laid-out independent release (oh, that sexy back hair!), it is obvious that this release is a labour of love and given the passion contained therein, hopefully it won’t be long until the world is graced with another release from this Limey Coloradan.
© Steve Pass, Music Vice
Ben Prytherch has been kind enough to release a track to MusicVice for streaming. Click below to hear “Knowledge and Fun”, as recommended by Prytherch’s opening preamble: