Maduro - Ben Kenney


I used to be pretty into Incubus. Granted, they do have some pretty cool albums (my review of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. here: Really, I loved them.

But there is not an Incubus album that matches that of either of Ben Kenney’s greats.

A little background about Ben Kenney: he’s one of those dudes who can play everything. Guitar for The Roots. Bass for Incubus. Played with Erykah Badu, Timberlake, and Blackalicious, plus his other projects Time Lapse Consortium and Supergrub. He just does stuff. Under his own name, he plays…everything. Guitar, drums, bass, piano, vocals, everything. And what’s more: it’s all fucking awesome. I would kill to be able to play one instrument as well as he plays ALL OF THEM.

Maduro is one of those albums that is simply without fluff. There just isn’t any padding, you know? It’s “all killer, no filler” as Sum 41 would say.

I still remember the first time I heard the opener, “Wrong”. Calvin’s car, Q Street, Omaha, Nebraska, USA. I remember thinking “damn.” That’s all there was to it. Some albums you have to eat the whole thing and let it digest for a while. Maybe go back a few years later and have a look. That was definitely not the case here: I was hooked from the first bars.

This album rocks. A lot of the time it’s straight-ahead verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus type stuff, but then he’ll do something crazy like throw in 5-part backing vocals (with only his own voice— wtf?) and snare hits only on beat 2. Who fucking hits snares only on 2?

Anyway, I’ll shut up with this crap review. Go listen to some rock ‘n’ roll.

Sounds like: rugged individualism.

Start at 1:00

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