When Benjamin Garrett took to the stage on the 10th of February, most in the room would know what to expect. FRYARS, alter-ego of Benjamin, had co-written two of Rae’s tracks recently, and sung on “Cold” on the album. Duets are always a dubious move in my eyes, but with the right person they are more than okay. Fryars is that person.
The 24 year-old London-based singer oozes confidence as he enters the stage, and with recent songs from his 2014 release “Power”, it is no wonder that he does. It takes confidence to campaign your album with the website ‘Listen To My Fucking Masterpiece’, and to have a single titled ‘Cool Like Me’. But he is parodying the industry with this title, and is happy to a part of the pop culture. His music is complicated and fuses together elements from a varying range of genres, and performs them all with pin point precision. His voice soars between a traditional male voice and then to a high pitch that you would more likely associate with with female singers such as Florence + The Machine or Rae Morris, who he supported that night. His music mixes piano and guitar, veering more towards pop than rock mostly, with songs such as ‘On Your Own’ particularly highlighting his style, as does the aforementioned ‘Cool Like Me’. He is engaging throughout, with a sense of togetherness and syncopation with the rest of the band, something not often seen live these days. Together with his concept album “Power”, himself are alt-j are one of the few artists left releasing albums full of album material, and not singles lashed together by a high-flying record label.
The only criticism is that Rae shines above Fryars with a cheerier atmosphere both in her music and in the audience – Fryars is not what people in this room were craving. But that is the issue with today’s musical climate. Once he finds his niche, he will surely go far. His evident tireless effort into hopefully propelling himself into the limelight will surely pull him through to where he wants to be.
If only people will listen to his fucking masterpiece.
By Harry Barnes