Ben Folds

Following on from yesterday's nostalgic Squarepusher review comes a 'new' LP from 90's hero Ben Folds. Although culled from 3 internet-only EPs, The Bens EP he did with Ben Lee and Ben Kweller and a couple of singles and compilation tracks, Supersunnyspeedgraphic features many of the Folds' trademarks, and his unique approach and charm are in full effect on many of the tracks.

While he's been recording no-stop since the early 90's and no doubt thinks he is 'expanding', 'progressing' or 'developing' his sound with recent albums like Songs for Silverman, Ben Folds has little idea that he will be forever labeled as the soundtrack to hazy art school barbecues in the summer of '96. And let me say right now - that's no bad thing.

A cover of In Between Days gets the full Ben Folds' treatment, presented here as an upbeat sing-a-long that tumbles along sounding like the drum kit is not properly secured, and a dilapadated piano has been resurected for one last jam - bringing a welcoming pub singalong atmosphere.

Adelaide is a highlight, building up from the most simple of piano licks into a full blown epic with witty, engaging lyrics providing an autobiographical feel - also present on There's Always Someone Cooler Than You.

Bens Kweller and Lee make an appearance on Bruised - and Ben Lee's brief vocals make me realise how much hope was pinned on him as a prodigy back in the day. I blame the collapse of Grand Royal for that one.

The album certainly has the feel of a compilation rather than a themed studio album and amongst the highlights there are certainly a few duds. Out of the context of an album some of the ballads - like Still - can sound contrived and a bit forced, and a cover of Dr Dre's Bitches Ain't Shit mis-fires. While it's impeccably done in the style of a Ben Folds' ballad, that just focuses the emphasis onto bitches and hoes in the lyrics just makes it seem like a tired joke - done better by The Gourds with their cover of Gin And Juice. If you don't speak English however that could well be your favourite track...

While there are no sublime moments on a par with Mess or Brick there is plenty on this album to recommend to more than just completist collectors out there. For such a prolific performer Folds' rarely puts a foot too far wrong and this is no exception.

So, get round mine for about 4pm, the coals will have whitened and I'll start the grilling.