You may have picked up on Benjamin Lazar Davis from his 2018 debut ‘Nothing Matters’, an impressively carefree collection of contemporary song-writing, rhythmic heartbeats and lush musical landscapes. Or maybe you latched onto the surging electronic soul pop of his earlier ‘Let it be You’ collaboration with Joan Wasser (Joan As A Policewoman). Or you could just be a fan of Okkervil River and Cuddle Magic or know him from his work with Sam Amidon and Anais Mitchell. The Brooklyn based songwriter, producer and arranger has over the last few years steadily become an integral contributor to the soundtrack of this particular corner of the folk-tinged art- pop universe but in 2021 Ben is switching his sights onto his next solo adventure.
We’ve already been gifted his forthcoming album’s first single, ‘If you want it’, a swirling nu-soul ballad that built from rootsy reflection to the uplift of a heartbreaker chorus. The track drew from the Lazar Davis foundation of inventive electronic arrangements but in its sultry tempo hinted at a shifting direction of travel.
Now comes an early Christmas bonus as he shares a second new cut ‘What if I’ along with its quirky video directed, filmed, edited by the man himself in the sunburned LA desert. Inspired by the melody of a Bach chorale that Cuddle Magic buddy Cole Kamen- Green pushed his way, the song is a sumptuous piece of country pop catchiness. Eased along by those chugging acoustics, the gentle pleading for the partner who’s not coming back is told with subtle vocal harmonies, sympathetic lap steel teardrops and a simple hook that has an immediate magic.
It’s a track that leaves you wanting more and makes you put that reminder in your phone- 2021 watch out for Bemjamin Lazar Davis, songwriter, hitmaker, drone pilot and selfie-stick wizard.