On Being Frank
Label: ImaVeePee Records/Sony Music
Ben Folds Five's first full-length since 1999's The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner is a truly ambitious affair, one that reflects the group's love for art pop tunesmithing (namely Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, Queen and Supertramp). A good number of the tracks are suite-like affairs layered with richly woven harmonies and radical shifts in both mood and tempo. Because of this, The Sound of the Life of the Mind is a slyly challenging listen that demands commitment from its listeners. It's certainly a gutsy move for a band trying to make a comeback after over a decade of inactivity.