Originally posted by Deano at HardRockHouse.Com:
Tunisia – Two False Idols
Rating – 7/10
Described on the website as ‘Cinematic Rock’ Tunisia is the brainchild of Australian Ben Craven who is responsible for playing and writing almost everything on ‘Two False Idols’, recording it on a shoestring budget in a small home studio. The end result really is a labour of love, wonderfully played and with a production standard of extremely high quality.
The first thing that struck me was the cover, something that Hipgnosis would be proud of and, sure enough ‘Great Divide’ is a suitably grand and typically Floydian opener. Featuring some classy lap steel playing and layers of Hammond, it also reminds me of Neal Morse – era Spock’s Beard and that is no bad thing, having a very intelligently written lyric.
However, before you think this is going to be ‘just another prog’ album there is an array of styles to be found on ‘Two False Idols’; from the country sound and Beach Boys harmonies of ‘Enough About You’ (complete with a suitably wry lyric about the aimlessness of celebrity culture) to the wonderful acoustic work of ‘If You Knew’. Craven really has come up with something very different and ingenious here and, as such, ‘cinematic rock’ is pretty much a perfect description. The arrangements that flow through the album are delightfully executed and his playing is remarkably consistent throughout. Elsewhere,’ Not Me It’s You’ is a driving rock anthem in the making, whilst ‘Captain Caper’ (another clever lyric about “the greatest superhero”) and ‘Golden Band’ are interspersed with passages that are somewhat Lennon-esque.
The reason it doesn’t get a higher mark is that his voice, whilst pleasant enough, is not really distinctive enough to carry across 50-odd minutes and struggles at time to find sufficient power and range. Maybe a few guest vocalists to help out would have been a good idea? This aside I still found this to really be a fascinating and highly original release with some really inspired moments; all too often albums that have been put together by one individual can sound self indulgent and Craven does well to avoid going down this route.
‘Two False Idols’ has just been released across Europe on Cargo records and also comes with a bonus disc in DTS surround sound.
Enough About You
If You Knew
Not Me It’s You
Ben Craven – Everything!
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