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Ben Craven - Two False Idols (as Tunisia) CD (album) cover

TWO FALSE IDOLS (AS TUNISIA)

Ben Craven

 

Crossover Prog

3.87 | 11 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Two False Idols' - Ben Craven (7/10)

BEN CRAVEN was one of 2011's breakthrough prog artists. Whether it was his singer- songwriter approach to progressive rock, or simply the lavish Roger Dean (of Yes fame) cover art, his 'Great and Terrible Potions' was one of the more acclaimed releases of the year. Although I sadly never got around to listening to CRAVEN's work when it was hot off the press in 2011, a re-release of his estranged debut gives me a chance to redeem myself. If 'Two False Idols' is any indicator of what his later work is like, then I am sure I will be giving Mr. Craven quite a bit more of my listening time in the future.

First published under the 'band' name TUNISIA, BEN CRAVEN has re-released 'Two False Idols' under his own name, presumably in the hopes to give t some more deserved attention. Before 2011, it's safe to say that BEN CRAVEN was fairly unknown, even to up-to- date proggers.The choice of musical style on 'Two False Idols' may give a reason as to why the progressive music scene did not instantly pick him up. While many bands in prog nowadays are ever increasingly incorporating more accessible, melodic material into their music, few ever go so far as to bring commerce-worthy sounds into their work. That's not to say that BEN CRAVEN's music would fit into a pop radio station's schedule too well, but some of these songs are very down-to-earth. 'Two False Idols' is of course graced with its fair share of prog; 'Golden Band' (split into two parts for this rerelease) is a great showcase of his memorable melodies overtop an eerie synth hook. 'Captain Caper' is CRAVEN's charming attempt at psych-pop, and I cannot help but feel reminded of DAVID BOWIE while listening to it.

The 'pop' sounds manifest themselves most clearly in BEN CRAVEN's unmistakable singer-songwriter approach for many of these tracks. Although Floyd-derived spaceyness is infused in most of the material, the upbeat song 'Enough About You' could have easily come out of the BARENAKED LADIES' catalogue. 'Not Me It's You' is another one that's plenty of fun, but alas, the enjoyment wears thin after a few listens, and they feel out-of-place in the context of what is otherwise a fine piece of Floydian space-songwriter rock. With that being said, 'If You Knew' is arguably my favourite track on the album, and it's about as singer- songwriter as it gets!

Although its length of fifty-something minutes is pretty standard for an album, something about 'Two False Idols' feels like it overstays its optimal length by about ten minutes. Nothing on 'Two False Idols' makes me want to turn the album off, but- save for the modified 'Golden Band' duology- BEN CRAVEN's debut sounds more like a collection of songs than a put-together album. There's no denying that the man's got a great hand at songwriting however, and he's got a pretty decent voice to boot. For most of you who may have overlooked this debut when it first came out, or have never heard BEN CRAVEN's work at all, this remixed edition is a very enjoyable experience.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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