Album Review: Ben Forster – Acoustic Covers (2012)

“I lost my head
And thought of all the stupid things I said”

Winner of ITV’s Superstar and now well-established West End leading man, current Phantom Ben Forster has released two solo albums of acoustic covers called, well, Acoustic Covers. The first sees him singing just with a solo guitar (Joe Watkin) to accompany him and whilst it is clearly a deeply personal collection of songs for him, there’s a slight lack of variety over the 11 tracks which makes it a slightly less than essential record.

There are some lovely moments – the vocalisations that accompany Coldplay’s ‘Trouble’, the building power in the vocal of Jacko’s ‘She’s Out Of My Life’, and the sweet guitar playing that lifts the likes of ‘Cannonball’ and the incomparable Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’. And when Forster is just singing ‘em straight, really connecting with the songwriting, you can see all the musicality that has got him this far in his career.

There’s also, for me, some less successful aspects. Roxette’s ‘It Must Have Been Love’ is a power ballad extraordinaire but slowed down as it is here, it becomes an unforgivably dull dirge. And there’s a tendency to over-emote which interferes with the cleanliness of melodic lines – a tremulous take on ‘I Don’t Wanna Talk About It’ is the biggest culprit here. Overall, a mixed bag then.

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