Freddie Matthews writes from London: Whether you’ve heard of him or not, Ben Montague is a singer-songwriter from Farnborough, in Hampshire, England, who’s been on the music circuit since 2009.
From the outset I found myself confused as to whether or not this new album is Ben Montague’s debut release. The press release surrounding the album would lead me to believe that it is. Further research, however, reveals 2 former album releases from Mr. Montague. The 2 albums in question were the 2011 Overcome and 2012’s Unknown Reward. Why then does the press release tell us that Tales Of Flying and Falling is the debut album? Maybe it’s because on this album Ben Montague finally has a decent record deal to speak of and also that the former successful single from 2010 called Haunted has made its way onto this new album. Potentially this is where it starts for Ben Montague and this is where the record company would like us to think the beginning of his career is.
Most recently Ben Montague was exposed to the audiences of Lawson and The Wanted, as he toured with both of the boy bands as part of The Code Tour in early 2012. Following that exposure to a whole new audience he headlined his own UK tour and ended the year with more solo dates but this time supported by Ledra Chapman and Sophie Delila. This mishmash of touring slots is where the problem lies for me. What the hell is Ben Montague’s style and music genre? Why tour with boy bands such as The Wanted and Lawson if he then tours with Ledra Chapman? Their styles of music couldn’t be further apart. Does anyone actually know how to pigeonhole Ben Montague, as his management seems to be struggling?
Despite the audience confusion, Tales Of Flying and Falling is a very accomplished and well produced album. It’s blatantly obvious there’s been a serious cash injection here. Ben Montague is naturally the main song-writer but add in the likes of Iain Archer (Snow Patrol), James Walsh (Starsailor) and Jim Duguid (Paolo Nutini), as well as producer Dave Eringa who oversaw many of the classic Manic Street Preachers and Kylie Minogue albums and you’ll appreciate where the money’s been spent.
The songs to listen to: Track 1, Love Like Stars, was the first single from the album and sounds like the kind of song we’ve come to expect from bands like The Script and The Wanted but why didn’t it get any pop radio play? Track 10, Liberty Road featuring added vocals by Lucie Silvas, has lovely harmony, strings, is melodic and a real head nodder/foot tapper even if it is a little predictable and cheesy in general. Track 5, Haunted, may be a few years old but getting a brand new showcase won’t do Ben Montague any harm whatsoever. It’s his lighters in the air moment for every live gig. It’s a song that even on the first listen you’ll feel that you already know. Track 2, Another Hard Fall, is the only song with true music credibility. I could hear this song on mainstream radio. It’s up tempo and has those much needed song hooks to draw the fans new and old into Ben Montague’s impossible to pigeonhole sound.
Whether you’ve heard of Ben Montague or not I guarantee you will think you’ve heard this album somewhere before. To possess a talent to produce an emotion like that is very rare but I suppose that’s where the big name song-writing aides come in.
I seriously think it’s only a matter of time before Ben Montague is a household name in the UK. This is very catchy feel good music.
Tales Of Flying and Falling could be the industry break Ben Montague deserves and he’s certainly ‘one to watch’ in 2013.