New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Minneapolis-based singer and songwriter Ben Noble's song, "Cutting Teeth", from his debut album, Whisky Priest, is a beautiful and haunting track. It is a perfect representative of the whole album, It instantly reminds you of Sufjan Stevens
and Bon Iver, both of whom are listed as Noble's influences.
Noble's voice is utterly beautiful. Soft and dreamlike, with such a depth of emotion that it touches the listener's heart. He is tender and open- it feels like a very personal experience, as he shares his world and invites you to join him. His falsetto notes are clear and piercing and, like everything else about "Cutting Teeth", brings you closer than you would have thought to this exceptional artist.
"Cutting Teeth" is an acoustic treasure. The guitar work is beautiful and ethereal, much like the rest of the song. Every component takes you to a world that doesn't feel quite real- too sad, too fantastic. My favorite part of the song comes at the end, where the harmonies are discordant and don't have the steady music to keep them in time- it's utterly haunting. To go from a fairly uniform and perfectly constructed track to that... it's an interesting choice, one that will stay with me for quite some time. When you're fully immersed into the song, it is jolting and not at all what you expected.
The lyrics in "Cutting Teeth" are something else, truly. They are beautiful and rich. They feel so deeply personal that even if you don't quite understand what's going on, it gets to you. Perhaps it's the emotion that comes with each word or the music that cradles them perfectly. What really makes the lyrics work is that you can't imagine these words coming from any other song or any other genre. They're wholly catered to this experience Noble created.
There is a very specific power in this song- the story it tells, the way it is sung, and the music itself all form memories of an adventure you were never a part of, but it certainly feels that way. It is weary and weathered, coated in hazy, bittersweet nostalgia that could make one cry. The quality reminds me of the feeling I get when I listen to Americana/Southern Gothic music, though the sounds couldn't be any more different. There's a familiar string in the storytelling. It's fascinating and brilliant. While most songs are out there to tell a story, there aren't that many that really get the point across properly, but Noble nails it. It's especially incredible that this is from his first album. It excites me for the future projects he'll undertake.
"Cutting Teeth" is a gorgeous track on an equally gorgeous album. This is only Noble's first, so I eagerly await more work from him in the future. He's meticulously crafted a beautiful sound that, while noticeably inspired by similar artists, has it's own unique charm and power that is truly impressive. If you enjoy soft acoustic sounds with thought-provoking lyrics, Ben Noble is perfectly suited to you.