Ian Ball

Who Goes There

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A little more than a decade after Gomez hit the public radar, Ian Ball became the first member of the band to release a solo album. Like Gomez compatriot Ben Ottewell, Ball had been playing sporadic solo acoustic shows in their downtime, but those who have seen those acoustic shows or have seen Ball with Gomez may be a bit surprised at Who Goes There. It's a fairly laid-back affair and much of it is keyboard driven instead of guitar, with lots of electric piano, piano, and Rhodes. Where there are guitars, they're generally (though not exclusively) acoustic. And although Gomez has showcased their singer/songwriter tendencies off and on over the years, Ball proves to be quite a sensitive songwriter here, with a sly sense of humor. He's also got some interesting production ideas, especially on "The Elephant Pharmacy" (which is certainly in the spirit of Gomez' "Dire Tribe"), with its weird looped music box sound and glockenspiel. The sound throughout is layered and full but never cluttered, and the songs just ride their easy grooves. Again surprisingly, there's barely a guitar solo to be heard, even on the ten-minute title track (although the album ends with a bit of a flourish). Very nicely done.

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