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Mr Ben & the Bens

Mr. Ben & the Bens is a British indie pop outfit based around the songs of Lancaster singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Hall. From his early, lo-fi experiments as Mr. Ben to the more layered pop sound he created with the Bens, Hall's ear for melody and rich imagination fall in the tradition of forebears like Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Belle and Sebastian, and Bill Ryder-Jones. 2018's Happy Shopper EP was a showcase for Hall's agile melodies and self-executed studio technique, while the group's first full album, 2019's Who Knows Jenny Jones?, reflected a more organic and introspective technique. Begun in 2012 as a recording project in a barn in Lancaster, Hall took a D.I.Y. approach, playing all the instruments and self-releasing a series of lo-fi EPs and albums that pulled from folk, '60s pop, psychedelia, and whatever else happened to be on his mind at the moment. Most of these were released by Bingo Records, a co-op label founded by Hall and a few friends. Following 2017's The Owl Service and a subsequent move to Sheffield, Hall began to record under the Mr. Ben & the Bens moniker to note his expanding sound and membership. A 2018 EP, Happy Shopper, and the 2019 "Nova Scotia" single marked the dawn of the Bens, who made it official with the full-length concept album Who Knows Jenny Jones? later that year, though the only other musician on the LP was drummer Zac Barfoot. For touring, Hall put together a full version of the Bens, in which he was joined by Tom Diffenthal on guitar and keyboards, Lauren Paige-Dowling on bass, and Barfoot on drums. In 2020, Mr. Ben & the Bens issued Life Drawing, a more polished effort with a relatively mature, refined production approach.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
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