Hendra

When Everything But the Girl ended, Ben Watt turned DJ and opened a label. But the songwriter and singer's first solo album since 1983 doesn't parade beats: It unleashes Southern California, London and Nashville sounds played by a rotating studio band, with softly killer guitars by Bernard Butler and David Gilmour. The songs occupy their own modern spaces with a raging peacefulness. The Jackson Browne melodies of "Forget" ricochet ingeniously. "Spring" throws crocuses at David Bowie's "Heroes." "Nathaniel" rekindles Morrissey's fire. "The Levels" stages a backyard aria. "Young Man's Game" is a country song about haute clubland. They're songs as free as any wild-ass dance track.

From The Archives Issue 1211: June 19, 2014
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