The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

THERE’S no deny­ing that Ben Lee can write a catchy pop song; if the mood or the fi­nan­cial im­pe­tus took him, the mup­pity singer could even tweak his on­go­ing spir­i­tual spring-clean for a re­birth as a chil­dren’s trou­ba­dour. Boppy, ide­al­is­tic and en­thu­si­as­tic tracks such as the preachy but jiggy I Love Pop Mu­sic ( along with much of 2005’ s fetch­ing Awake is the New Sleep ) could get those rusks in the air in no time. But when it comes to pop, sim­ple is usu­ally bet­ter, and Lee’s prob­lem on The Re­birth of Venus is that he’s try­ing too hard: to be spir­i­tual, to save the world, to be in love, to re­write gen­der stereotypes ( Boy with a Bar­bie ) and chan­nel fem­i­nin­ity ( I’ma Woman Too ), to, once again, save the world. Af­ter a while the state­ments wear thin and it’s hard to take him se­ri­ously, the ex­cep­tion be­ing the more pen­sive Fam­i­lies Cheat­ing at Board Games, with its re­strained vo­cals and pretty gui­tar-pi­ano in­ter­play. Lee’s am­bi­tions are lofty but it’s hard to see this al­bum winning him new fans.

San­dra Bridekirk The Re­birth of Venus Ben Lee UMA

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