Bennett, Ray - Whatever Falls

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Mintspy Records
Catalog Number: VP228CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:36:00

For those who need a history lesson, Ray Bennett is the former bassist for the Yes splinter group Flash. As a huge Flash fan, I couldn't wait to dig into Bennett's latest CD, Whatever Falls, and I wasn't disappointed. A collection of guitar-based compositions, Whatever Falls covers a lot of territory from ambient textures to Rush-like metal. As it turns out Bennett is not just an excellent bassist, but also a skilled guitarist and a competent vocalist.

The album opens with the track "La Verite Des Miracles," a six-minute sonic surprise (especially if you expect to hear something similar to Flash) whose ambient intro leading into heavier guitar themes brings to mind some work by Djam Karet. The second track, "Torn Apart," takes over where the first leaves off, with searing guitar that harkens back to early Rush. However, the song itself sounds more like a melding of Rush with the 60's Ten Years after. On this track, we first get to hear Bennett's vocals, which sound like Dave Mustaine of Megadeth crossed with Alvin Lee of Ten Years After.

"Under The Wheel," the third track, moves back into Djam Karet territory, at least as far as the music goes. However, this is a vocal piece, rather than an instrumental. Growling bass lines and soaring, sustained guitar chords punctuate the distorted spoken verses, all underpinned by occasional synth screeches. Although Bennett delivers the verses as spoken word, he sings the choruses in two-part harmony. The centerpiece of the track is an almost orchestral break that brings to the fore the subtle symphonic nature of the music.

The remaining tracks follow suit, with songs that update the Ten Years After sound ("Digging With A Spoon" and "Davey Goes To The Park") to nearly ambient pieces ("Ahh!" and "Stella") to jazzy, Eric Johnson-like forays ("Whatever Falls" and "New West"). One song, "Changes," is the closest anything here comes to pop, being reminiscent of early Toto. For the most part, the arrangements are dense with orchestral touches played on synth, as well as peppered with myriad atmospheric sounds, yet it all stays well balanced and mixed, producing a sonically deep CD that offers a new surprise with each listen.

Every track on this album is, in its own way, unusual, which should help satisfy most prog listeners. The guitar work is solid, to the point, and effective. Especially effective are the various guitar tones, from Rush-like walls of sound to dark, Eric Johnson-esque rhythm sections. The keyboards boast the same sensibilities, solid backgrounds that slide nicely into the mixes.

All in all, I think Bennett has a real winner here, an album that impresses on the first listen but grows stronger as the music becomes familiar. I can heartily recommend Whatever Falls to anyone who likes rock with strong musical values, a progressive edge, and creative, expert production.

La Verite Des Miracles (5:58) / Torn Apart (4:51) / Under The Wheel (5:04) / Digging With A Spoon (3:26) / Ahh! (3:18) / Stella (2:40) / Changing (5:47) / Davey Goes To The Park (6:35) / Whatever Falls (5:54) / New West (4:52)

Ray Bennett - vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, ebo, electronic percussion
David Kannenstine - bass (5, 9)
Mark Pardy - drums (ex. 6)

Whatever Falls (2001)
Angels & Ghosts (2001)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: December 2nd 2002
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum
Artist website:
Hits: 1181
Language: english


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