Posted by: will | October 15, 2007

Music Review – Ben Davis/Des Ark

Ben Davis & The Jetts/Des Ark “Battle of The Beards” (Lovitt)

Indie rock veteran Ben Davis has spent time in bands like Sleepytime Trio, Milemarker and Bats & Mice. Davis has also released two solo albums as well. This is his first material with his backing band, The Jetts. There is a different vibe emanating from this material. His older solo material was much more akin to Elliott Smith material in its laid back nature. Here with a band to flesh out his material, Davis sounds rejuvenated. Davis & The Jetts’ five songs have an interesting sound. Bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Pinback come to mind but at the core is a definite pop influence. Davis and his band walk a tightrope but never fail to mix their different tastes into one inviting sound.

As good as Davis and company are on Battle Of The Beards, it is hard to ignore the incredible talent that singer/guitarist Aimee Argote possesses. Argote’s Des Ark continues to fulfill the promise put forth by the incredible 2005 debut, Loose Lips Sink Ships. Influences like PJ Harvey and Cat Power are hard to ignore when listening to Argote’s introspective songs. Much of the time though, Argote simply rises above her influences. Des Ark’s five songs here show a much more reserved side to Argote and her songwriting. Yet, the power of her vocals and lyrical attack still burns deep. Des Ark still remains below the radar. I can not imagine that will continue for much longer though.

Battle Of The Beards is able to accomplish a rare feat…showcasing two talented, yet totally different artists. Ben Davis & The Jetts and Des Ark each contribute five songs. The final two songs on the split are a collaboration between the two outfits with the addition of a 20-piece orchestra. While the two groups are coming from completely different genres they play off each other remarkably well. It all sounds natural and you can tell the artists have complete respect for one another. Frankly, this is how a split should be done.

Ben Davis & The Jetts – RIYL: Sunny Day Real Estate, Elliott Smith, Pinback

Des Ark – RIYL: PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Feist


Ben Davis & The Jetts – Gorilla Boy (mp3)

Des Ark – If By “Gay” You Mean “Totally Freaking Awesome,” Then Yeah, I Guess It’s Pretty Gay (mp3)

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