Record Overplayed
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Ben and Jason | CD review | 2003

BEN AND JASON - Goodbye (Setanta - 13/10/03)

Review by Dawn

Intelligent and emotive, endearing and intimate, Goodbye is Ben & Jason's fourth and - as the title suggests - final album. According to Ben, it was the easiest of the four to make, but only the hardest heart will find it equally easy to listen to; knowing that the LP is effectively the duo's parting gesture means that, despite it being less overtly dramatic than its predecessor Ten Songs About You, their already moving music is given an extra poignancy. The absence of the previous album's strings on many tracks here doesn't do anything to lessen their impact; rather their stripped-down style of just acoustic guitar and Ben's heartbreaking vocals make for an effortlessly heartfelt collection of irresistible songs which touch on changes of circumstance and, as Jason says, 'our usual subtext: loss'.

So strong are all the songs here that it's difficult to name any which particularly stand above the others. The most instant, though, is A Star in Nobody's Picture, where the pair's usual wry and clever lyrics sit beside insistent strings which build slowly to a crescendo as Ben's breathless vocals reach their spine-tingling peak.

Despite numerous releases and a dedicated fanbase, not nearly enough people have been fortunate enough to discover the delights of Messrs Parker and Hazeley, making their unexpected split all the more lamentable. Rest assured, those of us privileged enough to be aware of them will treasure this album as much as their others as we bid them au revoir.

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