Fearlessly autobiographical but also poetically vague enough to feel relevant to the modern listener – Ben Lazarus shifts the narrative and fuses genres in the process, with the eclectic and extensive project Ayy.
Indie-rock vocals feel both tentative and quietly passionate as Got Me Wondering starts things off, contrasting that personal touch with distortion and pace.
Structurally effective, the song feels original in its progression, and the lyrics and melody take their time yet ultimately connect for that authentically new and honest feel. These qualities continue throughout, versatility proving a strength but also held up by the unmistakable nature of Ben’s leading voice.
Methadone drops down for bass-led contemplation before an explosive back and forth tips its hat to the likes of Eels – an early highlight for this juxtaposed energy and the carefree yet also scornful finality of the lyrics.
The album Ayy supposedly covers two entire decades of living experience. The depths to which Ben has gone to reach out with soul and gritty reality combined, so the likes of a heartbreaking Outrun the Truth and a psychedelic and provocative Bunjee seem to both embrace and confront the listener, in a way that keeps you involved and on your toes all at once.
Deeply revealing and unafraid to ‘go there’, Ayy speaks volumes on behalf of the Ben Lazarus artistic identity. There’s nostalgia in the indie fuzz of the sound, the rise and fall from softness to intensity, and there’s also plenty of humour and heartbreak intertwined throughout a cleverly complex and captivating arrangement of stories and reflections on life. It’s a slow-burner, as suggested, but it burns bright with ease once you give it the time and room to breathe.
Highlights include Staying In, Lurky Loo, and Going To The Store. In full though, Ayy becomes a pleasure to escape into, a relatable, understanding blanket of comfort, even a callout from one misfit to another; regarding the ups and downs of love and life amidst the strangeness of a contemporary world.
Whatever you find here, it will mean something of worth. Ben’s authenticity is consistently refreshing.
Download or stream Ayy here. Check out Ben Lazarus on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.