Ben Westbeech - Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life

As stories of being discovered go, Ben Westbeech's ranks as fairly impressive. When a mutual friend gave Radio 1's Gilles Peterson a copy of the track So Good Today, he quickly signed Ben to his own label and asked him to get to work on a debut album, the result of which is Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life.

Given Peterson's taste, you might not be surprised to learn this is a soul-jazz blend, touched up with tasteful beats. Get Closer even verges on drum 'n' bass, and Taken Away From (a sort of hip-hop Wonderwall) suggests Westbeech's influences may stretch as far as Oasis. Breaking up the songs are a few accomplished instrumental tracks, the best of which is the breezy Bright Future.

It's relevant that Get Silly covers the perils of drinking; for you can quite imagine Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life playing in trendy wine bars, and, when the first warm weather of the year arrives, blasting from car stereos. The only problem (at least for those who cheered the scruffy-hatted one's recent exit from the music business) is that there's more than a whiff of Jamiroquai here. Still, Westbeech undeniably has a smooth voice and catchy tunes, and this could well earn a few "album of the summer" plaudits.


Ben Westbeech live at Ronnie Scott's... No hat required.



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