Turning 28 years old next week, Benjamin Booker has released last week his new album “Witness”, his second full-length work towards Blues Greatness with a heavy gained guitar then delivers simple yet poignant solos. To add to his masterful qualities behind the guitar we have a unique voice that bears the hoarseness of Cobain’s lost one combined with the soul of a Gary Clark Jr.
His influences come from the early Blues of Blind Willie Johnson, passing by the early psychedelic folk of T.Rex and the whole post punk scene from The Gun Club. What he creates is a unique exemplar of a band that in one man combines a whole range of styles that would only make sense played by Benjamin. A sound resonating constantly gain in the guitars that constantly scream harmoniously with his voice that carries the charisma of the whole project.
He always lived by the sea, starting up his life in Virginia Beach and soon moving to Tampa Beach Florida. His intentions were to do the same as what I am doing now, music journalism, however as soon as he finished college he decide to record four songs and release his demo. That was in 2012, “Waiting Ones” EP. Since then his life ha been dedicated to expand all the universe of Post-Punk-Blues Imaginary he has in his mind.
In this first Four-Track released it was included one of my favourites and the first I ever heard from him, “Have You Seen my Son” which at some point is the most intense jungle of noise garage rock I have been for a long while. This one was later included in his first album later in 2014, along with hits like “Violent Shiver”, the most famous coming out of this work, and the catchiest of them all, however nothing else to point further on my side that honestly got the proper Shivers with “Slow Coming” a ballad with just simple yet beautiful chords that aligned with the organ make a beautiful break in this album. And this constant bounce between the noise garage rock mixed with some beautiful ballads is probably the best summary of his first work.
On this new release he has upped his game to a new level and this can be heard since “Right On You”, the first song, purely Punk bass and vocal lines with a guitar riff that could have been transfused from some Fuzz song from the 70’s. The calm Benjamin is back with “Motivation” with a fresher Pop bass line, simple chords and above all less garage feelings, which prejudiced the whole rawness combination he had set previously.
The whole “clap-along” game he had set previously as the preferential way of accompanying his guitar playing is real in “Witness” the first single released from this work, that brings a whole new Soul RnB vibe to the album named the same. After that a last layer is added with a typically Blues Rock vibe from “The Slow Drag Under” filled with sensuality. The album goes on with “Believe” taking the award for best Intro. However the overall feeling was that Benjamin was generally just calm, coming back to the simple drum line and forgetting all the Punk Rage he had prepare us with his previous works.