Ben Calvert & The Swifts: Festive Road (12 track CD LP, 2012)
(Limited to 300 copies)
Clockwork clowns, a weak strongman, a ringmaster on his last legs and an adulterous love affair.
It’s Winter and there’s fun and darkness aplenty at the circus on the end of the pier.
This album nods schizophrenically in the direction of both Scott Walker’s darkest moments and Syd Barrett at his most acid-soaked and child-like.
‘Introspective and often melancholic vocals offer the perfect picture window to redeeming an era of sound from the likes of Nick Drake. The orchestral sounding magic rests with his band who have a rich full sound. Folk music served up with a splash of dark psychedelia.’
**** Folk Radio UK
‘Gentle, lilting lyrics stir up echoes of Belle and Sebastian. The lo-fi production adds a charming intimacy. A great creation.’
For Folk’s Sake
‘Captures gritty scenarios and balls them up into tunes of semi-surreal indie-folk.’
‘The jaunty Valpolicella Girl is a kindred carnival spirit to (The Beatles) Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’
‘A stunning collection of melancholic post-folk and classic English story telling all wrapped up in a blanket of strings, organ and piano. Ben possesses a croon that brings to mind Scott Walker, whilst the music ranges from sparse and stripped to near orchestral as The Swifts weave a majestic spell. Festive Road is a mesmeric, enchanting affair showcasing a master craftsman at his very best.’
Rhythm ‘N Booze
Ben Calvert: The Broken Family DaySaver (Bearos Records) (12 track CD LP, 2008)
(Limited to 1,000 copies.)
“The world of Ben Calvert is one of family, sex, drugs and psychedelic folk soul where city doldrums, insalubrious corners, glue-sniffers and cynical grey tile skies are redeemed and lined with silver by the innocence of ‘Kids’. The Broken Family DaySaver is the very type of English modern day troubadour album which would be perfectly aplomb in any Shane Meadows film, and sees a return to the form which previously heralded radio play and endorsement from John Peel. An unexamined life is not worth living.”
“Flee is a soft and delicious slice of near nakedly drawn early Marr-esque musings, that in truth is quite perfect for these sultry days. Beyond that the only thing you need know is that you ought to investigate Ben Calvert further for yourself.”
“Although Ben Calvert has a folk heart, it is a folk heart which has been broken on indie dancefloors to the sounds of blur and The Smiths.”
“A booty bag of avid odes to poppers, kids and wonderboys; he’s an understated emancipator of lyrical wisdom.”
Louis Pattinson, Plan-B.
“Haunting, heart-bruising tales bitterly stumble into each other as if played by a meth-ed up, homeless Johnny Marr. The dark humour and stark honesty of Ben Calvert is paralysing, and charmingly so.”
Ben Calvert: The Leafy Underground (Bearos Records) (12 Track CD LP, 2003)
(Limited to 600 Copies – Sold Out)
Ben’s autumnal debut was recorded in the home studio of Bentley Rhythm Ace Mike Stokes, The Royal Academy of Music, and St Marys Church, Moseley.
“The songs Ben Calvert has recorded for this album are as strong as those on Nick Drake’s debut. (The Leafy Underground) would have fitted perfectly with the John Martyn albums and folk/jazz hybrid that Island Records was fond of in that era. Calvert has a winning way with a melody. ‘Starlight’ is 1 minute 42 seconds of perfection”
Malcolm Carter, Penny Black Music
“A strange Syd Barrett/Roy Harper hybrid is Ben Calvert. Lovely, melodic, melancholia. This is music and words for the disenchanted and is as good as a big bag of really good things.”
“Images of autumn gardens and all things quintessentially old-fashioned England tumble into the head. Ides of March sounds what you might image English spirituals to sound like if such things existed”
Mike Davies, NetRhythms.com