Benjamin Russell has been around for a while and he has certainly proven himself to be one of the biggest talents in this, or any other, country. In 1984 he had a very big hit “Miracle (Miracle Of Love)”, for which he was nominated for a CASBY Award for ‘Most Promising Male Vocalist’. Since then, he has released several albums and singles. He is also a poet, graphic artist, and artist. He is one talented individual. Earlier this year he released an album with Rob Stuart (Something In F Minor) and now he has released a solo album, Frontier.
Frontier welcomes the return to the music he does so well. This has tinges of 1980s electro music, but it is not retro or nostalgic. He even covers the theme from the classic film High Noon (“Do Not Forsake – Ballad Of High Noon”). It does not get much cooler than covering that iconic song. He does not do a lot of covers, so this is an interesting choice, and he does it in his own style, basing it on rhythms. It is really very interesting and unique. Most importantly, it works, in the same way Peter Baumann’s version of “Strangers In The Night” redefined the song.
Russell describe s it as ‘eleectro-pop’ but it is much more than that. It opens with “Frontier 2023” and the intriguing line “Can you tell me a picture, or draw me a story”. This is a great way to open, as in many ways it is very visual. It is one of the few songs in which Russell wrrote the lyrics, as other songs were written with his wife, Elyce Benjamin, such as the wonderful “Ghost Town”.
And the lyrics are very important here.The songs don’t sound too heavy, thanks to his ability to write very upbeat love songs. He also has a little assistance here and there, such as dueting with Shimmer Jackson on “When The Bubble Breaks” and some very tasteful piano from Rob Best on “Jackie”.
Russell has a great voice and a knack for writing songs that sound instantly familiar. His songs are so full of hooks and strong melodies, they instantly strike a chord as one listens. They burrow into one’s ear and stay there. Frontier is full of multi-layered tracks that grow stronger with each spin on the turntable.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: BENJAMIN RUSSELL – FRONTIER