HUFFINGTON POST - Morena Duwe: “The intensity of his spirit paired with his musical prowess (...) will make this album soar.”
New Artist Reviews: Ben Lorentzen
Like an unintentional conductor, music can dictate the emotions and atmosphere of one person or an entire stadium full of people. Some musicians are drawn to the dreamy, optimistic sounds of pop while others choose a darker, more obscure musical path. With so many existing genres, and more being created daily, few artists truly find their niche and stick with it.
The music of conscious singer/songwriter, Ben Lorentzen, is characterized by his lyrical candor, lush arrangements, and emotive tones. Dubbed as “acoustic pop noir,” he has chosen to step into the darker side of the human condition, tapping into the realest realms of truth and emotion. Reminiscent of acoustic greats such as Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, and Nick Cave, he shares their melancholic sentiment, but infuses his tracks with moments of ethereal sounds and diverse soundscapes.
“It started out with my mum singing me sad songs before I can remember,” says Lorentzen. “She told me I would cry and beg her for more.” The cathartic words of his mother resonated deeply within Lorentzen, setting the trajectory for his musical career. Both contemplative and genuine, his haunting music has caught the attention of Paal Flaata (known as “the Johnny Cash of Norway”) and songwriter Leslie Grace who have both performed his tunes.
Currently based out of New Jersey, Lorentzen has already performed at legendary venues such as the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, the Whiskey a Go Go in Los Angeles as well as smaller historic clubs such as Cafe Wha? and The Bitter End. He released the album Here and There with his earlier band, Brent, in 2002 and generated a top 40 radio hit with the single, “Need to Need You.” However, it is his solo album America which he released in May of 2015, that is solidifying his signature sound and establishing his true fan base.
His political and philosophical stance are most eloquently and brashly displayed in the track “Masters of War.” Unabashed and unafraid, he describes a governmental power and unbalance that can no longer be kept secret. Because the cadence of the song is simple and rhythmic, the ear and mind are fully focused on the lyrics. In the final verse of the song, he fervently sings:
So let me ask you one question:
Is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness?
Do you think that it could?
I think you will find
As your death takes its toll
All the money you make will never buy back your soul.
One of the most poignant tracks on the album, Lorentzen proves that his message is as important as his composition. Keeping activism through music alive, America is an album that is both simple and complex, as he delves into the multifaceted and extreme spectrum of humanity. The intensity of his spirit paired with his musical prowess creates an evocative combination that will make this album soar.
WHIM MAGAZINE - Melanie: %22You’re sure to love the new album titled “America” %22
SPEAK INTO MY GOOD EYE - Mike Mehalick: %22... Ben Lorentzen draws you into his darkly cathartic narrative world below%22
Watch: Union, NJ Songwriter Ben Lorentzen Serenades “The Ugliest Girl in the World”
People who know me are likely aware I hold a long time affinity for the works of Nick Cave. If you come to my apartment, you’ll find this towel hanging on the handle for my oven.
Acoustic-noir is a genre that works in stark contrast to a multi-million person inhabited, sky-scraper punctuated city scape. That seems to suit accomplished songwriter Ben Lorentzen just fine as he walks the New York and Union, NJ streets in thoughtful retreat, looking for that soulful, divine light in the darkness.
On where this proclivity towards his somber approach to songwriting, Lorentzen shares, “It started out with my mum singing me sad songs, before I can remember. She told me I would cry and beg her for more.”
In the performance video for single “The Ugliest Girl in the World,” Ben Lorentzen finds the beauty despite the flaws with looping electronic elements reminiscent of Spoon‘s “Inside Out” and with a vocal delivery and tongue of a subdued Dan Bejar of Destroyer and The New Pornographers fame.
Watch as Ben Lorentzen draws you into his darkly cathartic narrative world below with “The Ugliest Girl in the World.” Find more from the artist here.
PAPERCUT MAGAZINE: Julia Lamb: %22The NJ singer-songwriter possesses (...) a raw introspectiveness that’s difficult not to feel connected to.
Ben Lorentzen – “The Ugliest Girl In The World”
Branding himself an “acoustic pop noir” artist, Ben Lorentzen’s dark yet accessible sound comes straight from the soul. The New Jersey singer-songwriter possesses the spellbinding quality held by legends Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen and Elliot Smith: in his music lies a raw introspectiveness that’s difficult not to feel connected to.
‘The Ugliest Girl In The World’ is lifted from Lorentzen’s latest record America. With Lorentzen’s verbalized, percussive beat set against a bare backdrop of swelling piano and reverb-drenched guitar, the track is captivating on all counts. If there’s anything to be said about Lorentzen’s voice, it’s that it exudes a great deal of honesty – every word he sings comes from a place of very real emotion, and ‘The Ugliest Girl In The World’ is one of his best examples. A love song with a twist, Lorentzen’s unconventional lyrics narrate a profoundly authentic romance, one that is deep enough to transcend each other’s flaws: “My girl’s heart is blacker than darkness, and she is the ugliest girl in the world / You never met such a girl, you never knew such a girl could survive but she’s more beautiful than anything in this fucked up and god-forsaken world”.
Check out the music video for ‘The Ugliest Girl In The World’ below:
Follow Ben Lorentzen at:https://www.facebook.com/ben.lorentzen?fref=ts
ALTERNATIVE CONTROL- Jessie May: %22America is an album for quiet introspection. Spin it during a quiet moment....%22
Sparse and delicate, the new album by New Jersey songwriter Ben Lorentzen seeks to create “the defining record of a generation.” While America might not be anthemic enough to achieve that goal, it does offer many facets to dig into. Lorentzen is creative in his instrumentation; strings harmonica, piano, and I think even a banjo work their way through the songs. And look how he makes “percussion” by beatboxing into a loop pedal in ” The Ugliest Girl in the World”:
Not sure if this song is supposed to be flattering…
Other notable tracks are “Heaps of Ashes” and “Wasteland.” America is an album for quiet introspection. Spin it during a quiet moment and let Alternative Control know what you think!
THY DEMON SCRIBLINNG - Fiend: “I really can’t recommend this one highly enough to you.”
Welcome music lovers! Thanks to a new partner Old Man Feind has made I’ll be bringing you some off the beaten path reviews of artists you may not always expect to find here on TDBS but this are all independent artists looking to get the music out there and just like sharing indie films we like it’s time to do a little of the same for music. So put on your acoustic hats for a very awesome look at
Ben Lorentzen – America
Released: May 31st 2015
From: Union, New Jersey
For Fans of: Nick Cave, Chris Cornell, Leonard Cohen
My American Revolution
The Ugliest Girl In The World
Bring Home The Angels
Heaps of Ashes
Masters of War
These Sudden Changes
Down Is The Only Way Out
Jesus, John and I
Well friends if you took a look at my review of Steve Von Till’s latest (You haven’t? Why the F Not?!?), you know that I’m a sucker for acoustic jams. Now that doesn’t mean I just like anything acoustic out of hand but I do loveVon Till’s latest, his Neurosis bandmate Scott Kelly’s last one (The Forgiven Ghost In Me) and one of my all-time favorite albums Nirvana Unplugged. All of those albums are damn near perfect in my humble opinion so I didn’t expect Ben Lorentzen’s new mostly all acoustic album,America, to reach that level of excellence. I won’t spoil it quite yet but I was pleasantly surprised. Take a look & listen to one of my favorites on this album The Ugliest Girl In The World and see what you think.
As hopefully you picked up on there, Ben sounds like a wicked cross of Chris Cornell and Nick Cave with a songwriting style that seems to channel Nick Cave writing Leonard Cohen songs which is a compliment in case you weren’t aware. While America is pretty much a straight forward acoustic album perfect for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon hopefully filled with sunshine don’t make any mistake, it seemsBen Lorentzen can rock the F out as well. While preparing this review I came across a studio jam session with Ben truly channeling his inner Chris Cornell with a cover ofAudioslave’s Light My Way (check it out below) and honestly I freakin’ love it so it does not appear that Ben is any one trick pony so hopefully he’ll give us a kick ass rock album next.
The major thing that comes through, for me, on America is Ben’s genuineness. His songs pay slight homage to his obvious influences fromLeonard Cohen to Chris Cornell without ever once feeling like any sort of blatant rip off. These songs are beautiful with a hint of melancholy without ever stepping into depressing territory which can be a turn off for any casual listener. Far too often when people listen to acoustic music the thought is of country music but Ben’s songs ride a very fine beautiful line between pop, folk, country and rock giving us something unique, genuine and heartfelt. There are many who attempt to play music like this who come across sounding fake because they attempt to “act” emotional when they aren’t, Ben Lorentzen does not fall in this category. You can hear that Ben is playing from the heart like on one of my favorite tracks Bring Home The Angels.
I know this album isn’t the type of album we generally share with you here but I like a wide variety of music not just metal all the time. This album is incredible if you’re in the mood for a little something on the mellow side. I for one truly enjoyed this album and it’s perfect for when I need a break from the brutal metal I listen to most of the time. I really can’t recommend this one highly enough to you. If you need a break from the headbanging heaviness we usually share with you or if you’re one of our lovely readers who loves our horror but not the metal so much then this one just might be right up your alley. Music this beautiful makes the brutal fair I normally listen to seem that much more brutal so while I go crank up some Hatebreed go check out this album from Ben Lorentzenbecause while it is a little more mellow you should definitely…