Ben Jelen – ExSensitive
Custard Records www.custardrecords.com
Multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Ben Jelen is joined on this disc by producer/songwriter Linda Perry who also helps co-write most of the songs. Sheryl Crow producer Bill Bottrell is also on hand and helps mix a couple of the songs on the album. Jelen previously released an album of lush, orchestral pop on Moadonna’s Maverick Records which was quite decent as pop music goes but didn’t really do well sales wise.
With his guest producers and co-songwriters he seems to have some heavyweight help this time which bodes well for the success of the album. Perry and his producers have taken Jelen’s decent material and spiffed it up to another level, honing his songcraft and giving it some needed oomph. Pop music from the ’60’s and ’70’s seems to form the basis of much of this disc’s material including the almost Small Faces-sounding title track. While this is no doubt Jelen’s album, Perry brings her formidable talents and almost takes over, somewhat overwhelming Jelen’s playing with her everything-and-the-kitchen-sink production style. With Perry’s help Jelen and his piano get over the mopey singer-songwriterness of his first disc to transform into a common man trying to attack the worlds’s problems. Those who liked Jelen’s first record will be pleasantly surprised by how much he’s matured on this release. Best-seller or not, this album bodes well for Jelen’s career.