Ben Lee

Grandpaw Would

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Australian wunderkind of the '90s Ben Lee was only in his early teens when he recorded this debut LP, but his songwriting skills were already evidence of an ability beyond his years. Stripped to the barest of essentials, and often resorting simply to Lee and his guitar, the 18 tracks on the record are full of pure gooey pop and trademark simple but engaging lyrics. With help from both Liz Phair and Rebecca Gates, as well as a high-profile release from Grand Royal, Lee's first effort was backed by plenty of folks who believed in his skills, and it's doubtful that any were disappointed with the result. With simple approaches and plenty of songs about girls, the singer's tales of childish infatuation and normal fears are certainly believable, and the inclusion of more silly upbeat numbers like "Ductile" and "My Guitar" paints a portrait of Lee as a normal teen with a surprising penchant for writing great songs. This record reeks of the innocence that disappeared from his later albums, and for that alone it is wildly endearing. Grandpa Would is a distant sound compared to Noise Addict, Lee's other group from the time this was recorded, but its far from daunting "boy and his guitar" aspect is easy to fall in love with, and it gives some good justification for his decision to continue on with a solo career.

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