Album Review: Bec And Ben – Butterknives To Razorblades (2012 EP)

If dark, distinctly-Aussie rock sounds appealing, you need to know Bec and Ben. The first song crawls up on you. Twenty seconds in, there’s a change; an echoing riff, speeding up gradually until the one minute mark. Another change. This riff is shorter. Sharper. Then Bec starts to sing, and they’re not the words you expect. ‘Scar tissue and I think I gotta bruise on my left side.’ BANG. “Collide”. One of the finest songs on a standout debut has begun.

There is no downhill. As the EP title, Butterknives to Razorblades, suggests, Bec and Ben have taken the traditionally non-threatening form of a male-female due (See: The Civil Wars) and given it a distinctly Aussie edge. You know what I mean. The guitar strums a little harsher, the drums strike a little harder, and the lyrics are full of barbs. This is particularly prominent with the shared vocals on “This Is Why I Love You” and the title track “Butterknives to Razorblades” — essentially extracts from a mutually destructive relationship that are voyeuristically awesome to listen to.

There’s an undercurrent of aggression that runs beneath the first four songs, trickling out when we reach the closer – and yet, it feels totally natural. The delicate harmonies and reluctant vulnerability of ‘The Beast’ is where the band’s musicianship really shines. This is the pub in the early hours of the morning; all empty glasses and splashes of spilled beer. We’re the bartender who stayed with the lonely drinker, even when everybody else has gone home to their families, and we’re rewarded with their secrets and a sad smile when they finally leave.

Whatever they say, Bec and Ben don’t ‘make a lot of noise about nothing’. At $8.45, it might seem a bit pricey, but this EP is definitely worth the investment if you like raw, honest music. Don’t believe me? You can listen to the whole thing for free at the link below — and then go buy a copy.

Review Score: 8 out of 10.

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