Some singers carry experience in their voices: they approach the microphone with the authority bestowed by the passage of time. Ben Lorentzen is still a relatively young man. But his personal story is no simple one, and he’s brought those complexities to bear on his ambitious and emotionally candid music. Born in the frigid northern regions of Norway, brought to musical maturity in the clubs of New York City and northern New Jersey, spiritual seeker and devoted husband to the controversial daughter of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Lorentzen has cultivated a perspective – and a sound – unique in contemporary rock. It is, as you might expect from a person of his background, nuanced, searching, dynamic, and dream-haunted.
Yet it’s also exquisitely performed and powerfully sung. Lorentzen has made impeccable musicianship one of his hallmarks, and Pains And Pleasures Of Intimacy, his latest album, is a reminder of how bracing and provocative modern rock can be when it’s made and played by a master craftsman. As the title suggests, the album is both an exhilarating ride and a clear-eyed examination of the costs and rewards of relationships. It’s more than just smart: it’s wise.