Local Reviews: Ben Johnson

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Ben Johnson
Make it Bloom
Self-released
Street: 2007
Ben Johnson = Frank Sinatra + Franz Ferdinand (vocals) + Flaming Lips
Oh my! I don't know what I was expecting with this CD ... actually, I thought it was going to be second-rate, diluted folk music; something about the calligraphy font on the front cover. But the album opens up with a big, classy, big band-era sounding rock extravaganza and goes on from there to 40s and 50s crooner hits with "fun" pschedelia thrown in (think Flaming Lips, not Jefferson Airplane). Then some stuff comes off like smooth recent indie singer-songwriter rock with some clean prog. Make it Bloom is chockful o' personality. I don't think I've quite ever heard indie rock done like this, but then again, maybe that's cause I don't listen to New Pornographers and Shins. Rich horns contribute to the classy, festive air; piano lines glimmer in "Leave of Absensce." Synths peek out from time to time. It's very unique, very earnest and somewhat quirky. All in all, quite tasty.