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Shapes & Shadows
Ben Ottewell
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Reviewed: 2/21/2011 by Chris


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Ben Ottewell is one of three voices in Brit-rock outfit Gomez, but his is arguably the richest and most memorable. His solo debut is predictable only in that it's essentially a distilled version of his main gig, with the comparably stripped-down production being the biggest difference, rather than any surprising detours in songwriting. Still, there's plenty of piano, strings and occasional electronic flourishes to supplement the standard drums, bass and guitar, though Ottewell's voice rightly remains the main focus. The songs vary from the tightly arranged ("Lightbulb") to seemingly more whimsical and free-flowing ("No Obstacles"), yet all are sturdy. The nine-song tracklist suggests that Ottewell only used the songs he felt were essential to the album, and this "all killer, no filler" approach has paid off.

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