Ray Bennett

Whatever Falls

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What would you expect from a musician whose best-known accomplishment was to play bass in ex-Yes guitarist Peter Banks' group (that would be Flash), a musician who ever since the mid-'70s has laid low? What would you expect from a comeback album which is also his first solo album after 30 years of career? You probably wouldn't set your expectations too high. Well, surprise, surprise, Whatever Falls is not only a decent rock album, it actually contains all the elements to justify its existence. Ray Bennett wanted it to be special, and he succeeded. The art rock spark of Flash remains at work in the arrangements, especially in the bombastic instrumental opener "La Vérité des Miracles" (a big smile in the face of every fan of the group guaranteed). Bennett handles all instruments, with the exception of drums (by Mark Pardy) and a couple of bass tracks (David Kannenstine), yet a group feel prevails. The album was conceived as a whole; most pieces segue into one another, creating a well-calculated sequence. The rock songs have punch, the instrumentals are quirky enough to rise over predictable levels, and the title track, penultimate in the running order, creates a delicate atmospheric moment. Of course, Whatever Falls is not free of '70s nostalgia -- it irradiates the smell of British rock from that decade. But it has the strength of Steve Hackett's Guitar Noir. Fans will appreciate thoroughly.

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