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Ben Kweller
ON MY WAY
BY SARAH TOMLINSON
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Pity the performers who receive early accolades and then have to endure their awkward growth spurt in the spotlight. Lucky for indie singer/songwriter Ben Kweller, then, that age and experience have only made his music smarter and more impassioned. He still has a spunky innocence that gives his songs a playful breeziness on his third full-length album, On My Way (ATO/RCA), but he seems less self-consciously clever than ever before and instead indulges in some fine rock and roll. The albumís title track is populated with quirky characters who become infused with real emotion as Kwellerís voice croons and cracks through a gorgeous blues folk vocal hook, over simple, warm guitar. And the low-fi recording helmed by producer Ethan Johns draws out the raw power of songs like "The Rules," which has a tough, rollicking guitar riff, filled out with help from guitarist Mike Stroud (Dashboard Confessional) thatís as fiery as Johnsís work with the Kings of Leon. But Kweller hasnít lost his knack for delicately sketched pop songs either, as he shows on "Hospital Bed," which opens with a bright piano and frolicking burlesque beat. Kweller has grown without the pains.

(Ben Kweller appears this Saturday, April 10, with Death Cab for Cutie at Avalon, 15 Lansdowne Street; call 617-228-6000.)


Issue Date: April 9 - 15, 2004
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