Ben Morrison: Old Technology Review

Ben Morrison, who has seen success as the band leader of folk, bluegrass fusion Brothers Comatose, is seeking success as a solo artist with his debut album, Old Technology. The album, which was released on August 30th, highlights the Northern Californian’s unique songwriting, dynamic vocals and crisp guitar playing.

The album opens with the title track, “Old Technology,” which is an immediate introduction to the high quality guitar that Morrison puts down on the album. Acoustic rhythm under electric riffs and slide solos balance the song and album. In “Old Technology,” the machine-like snare keeps the beat as Morrison casually calls himself outdated and forgotten “technology.” The album meanders through lighthearted and heavy topics such as selling his gold-tooth for pocket change, acquiring and losing a stalker, partaking in drug use with hippies on a cruise; Alzheimer’s, politics, and poor relationship decisions. The fourth song on Old Technology, “25 Miles” has gained traction as a single. The song is a party, full of lyrical imagery, and its video follows the story: friends drink in pickup beds, make poor decisions, and live life to its fullest. The song’s high energy also comes from the backup vocals of The Rainbow Girls and a building chorus, jangling acoustic and searing electric guitar. The following song, “I Hope You’re Not Sorry,” which also has an accompanying video, zaps the energy with a mellow, echoic guitar intro. The deep, simple guitar drone matches the vocals and lyrical theme of loss and acceptance. The drums tap slowly, and the bass subtly fills the song, which brings to mind a dark Chris Stapleton ballad. It is a reflective song about fleeting relationships (if you can call stalking a relationship) that only a musician can make.

Old Technology contains a wide variety of sounds and genres. “Feels Like the Devil” is one of the last songs on the album, yet the first one in which the listener gets a sample of Morrison’s hearty blues chops. The tune is riddled with feedback-laden, classic blues riffs and a fuzzy bass line. Morrison’s vocals and guitar and the drums rise and fall synchronously. “Feels Like the Devil” ends with a blazing keyboard solo, one that will makes you wonder why this is its first appearance. The penultimate song, “Pile it Up” is another funky, heavy blues joint that starts with a hot, groovy opening: electric riff and rattling drums. The vocals are strong, yet light and airy, and “Pile it Up,” similarly to the album, is full of ebbs and flows, changing pace throughout. The song ends with a precise, fiery guitar solo and jam, featuring every instrument and vocalist, showing why Morrison, who tours California with his friends and family, puts on a renowned live performance.

Morrison’s debut album gives hope for more from the budding genre-melding soloist. Old Technology gives the listener insight into the mind of a unique individual, one capable of writing and playing unlike any other performer, doing it with skill and finesse. Be on the lookout for more from the former Brother Comatose.

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Old Technology
– 25 Miles
– I Hope You’re Not Sorry
– Feels Like the Devil
– Pile it Up

The Big Hit

– 25 Miles

Review by Spencer Rubin

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

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