Portsmouth is situated on the south coast of England. The coastal city was singer-songwriter Ben Brookes place of birth. The British born singer recently released his debut LP, The Motor Car and the Weather Balloon, at the end of November.
Brookes was picked up by a new Minneapolis-based label, Martin-Guild. He flew to the U.S. to record his debut. He added Prince’s drummer, Michael Bland, Bob Dylan’s keyboardist, Greg Inhofer, and three members of Badfinger to the tracks, but that didn’t sway him from is Britannia roots.
Brookes has a carefree, goofy personality, but that doesn’t reflect in the content of his music. Most of the tracks on The Motor Car and the Weather Balloon focus on far more serious subjects, like segregation and heartbreak. He is clearly wedging his sound in the folk, indie pop sector, sounding like a mix of Ryan Adams, Jason Mraz and The Beatles. His songs are undoubtedly catchy, although they lack a a tinge of creativity.
Vocally, Brookes has an undeniable inflection from the U.K. His voice is pleasant, especially so when it gets rough during the more heartfelt songs, like “Before Sunlight.”
The production was very well done throughout the album, which kept quite a bit of the ten tracks afloat.
“The Girl Who Cried Wolf” was by far the most memorable of all the songs on the debut. It was very heartfelt with a catchy acoustic and electric guitar part. The melodies swayed gently throughout the song surrounding his heartache.
A mix of keys, saxophone, well tracked drums, and Brookes’ distinctive vocals make up The Motor Car and the Weather Balloon. The album is worth a listen through. It is available on major streaming services, Spotify link here. Below is the official music video for “The Girl Who Cried Wolf.” Keep an ear out for more of Ben Brookes in the future.