The brainchild of Lancaster-born, although now Sheffield based songwriter Ben Hall, Mr Ben & The Bens, first emerged back in 2013 and haven’t really stopped releasing records ever since. Along the way they’ve pricked the ears of Marc Riley, as well as touring with The Lovely Eggs, British Sea Power, and The Wave Pictures, from whom they seem to have learnt a thing or two about being incredibly prolific! In the space of the last year they’ve crammed in two albums, Music For Flat Earthers and Music For Breakfast (not two albums to get muddled up we’d imagine!), as well as the delightful Nova Scotia EP. Not content with that level of fruitfulness, the band have already completed their next record, Who Knows Jenny Jones?, which is due for release later this month on Bingo Records. Today we’re premiering the second single from it, The Gravedigger’s Dance.
Who Knows Jenny Jones? is a concept album heavily influenced by Ben’s move to Sheffield. Set in the 1970’s, the record tells the tale of Jenny, a shrinking violet from the Pitsmoor area of Sheffield, who gets abducted by aliens and becomes the best disco dancer in town. Which does seem like the most logical reason for inter-terrestrial visitations after all. According to Ben, The Gravedigger’s Dance comes at a particularly crucial junction in the story, when Jenny comes across a gravedigger, who claims to have been abducted by aliens.
If that’s all sounding more like the plot to an episode of Dr. Who than the sound of a hot new pop-banger, well thematically that’s probably true. Thankfully for every genius concept, Mr Ben & The Bens do tend to bring a delightful tune as well, and this is very much the case here. The Gravedigger’s dance combines the gentle drift of Ultimate Painting and the tender harmonic flourish of Sweet Baboo. While it might be a somewhat darker texture than we’re used to from Mr Ben & The Bens, in the gentle reflections there’s still a hopefulness here, as Ben sings, “you’re younger than you think tonight, no it’s not too late, to appreciate your life”.
Sometimes when a band are as creative and prolific as Mr Ben & The Bens, there can be moments when you miss something really magical, on this evidence we’ll be sure to not male Who Knows Jenny Jones? one of those. This is an album that’s shaping up to be a real treasure.
Who Knows Jenny Jones? is out October 25th via Bingo Records. Click HERE for more information on Mr Ben & The Bens.
The video for ‘The Gravedigger’s Dance’ features Lloyd Bent as the beast. Tom Diffenthal was the director of photography and Zac Barfoot fed everybody with some very good pasta.
Fri 25 October: Lancaster – Yorkshire House
Sat 26 October: Huddersfield – Northern Quarter
Sun 27 October: Newcastle: Cumberland Arms
Tue 29 October: Manchester – Gulliver’s
Wed 30 October: Nottingham – Rough Trade
Thur 31 October: Cardiff – The Moon
Fri 1 November: London – Sebright Arms
Sat 2 November: Sheffield – Delicious Clam