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Ben Lee - Awake Is The New Sleep - New West Records

Just 13 years old in 1992 when he recorded music in his bedroom in Bondi Beach, Australia as the band Noise Addict, much has been made about Ben Lee’s youthfulness. Noise Addict were a full-on Aussie teen sensation, adapted here in the States by hipsters like Sonic Youth and the Beastie Boys. But now as a 26 year-old, Lee’s youthfulness has been informed by young adulthood and with it a more mature perspective as a singer-songwriter with something to say. Lee’s twenty-something experiences warmly inform these songs with stories and lyrics that transcend age appeal.

With five solo albums behind him, Lee’s rich experiences over time have resulted in the best album of his career. Produced by Brad Wood, Lee’s primary accomplices on the record include multi-instrumentalist Lara Meyerratken, drummer (and actor) Jason Schwartzman, guitarist McGowan Southworth, Jason Boesel & Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley), and power-popster extraordinaire Jason Faulkner.

Awake Is The New Sleep is a sweet, sweet album, with tender melodies, and inviting catchy songs like “Catch My Disease,” “Gamble Everything For Love,” and “Ache For You.” The songs on Awake very easily wrap around you like a comforting, warm blanket. For historians, the record brings to mind the first two Jackson Browne albums; acoustic, organic musings on love and life. For the moment, Lee has turned in an excellent album.

Written by Bruce Warren.

Release Date in the U.S.: 2/22/2005; In Australia, the release will be February 28, 2005 on Ten Fingers/Inertia Records.

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