Look Good, Feel Good
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 28, 2008
Ben MallottLook Good, Feel Good
Ben Mallott's pearl snaps and patterned cowboy boots on the cover of his debut LP are a bit misleading. Although he's backed at times by some solid steel and gently chugging rhythms, the Austinite's propelled by his impressively soulful vocals. Opener "Heartbreaks" showcases an impressively subtle range, and though there are touches of Damien Jurado, Daniel Lanois, and even Ray LaMontagne's mellow grit, Mallott winds with dexterous versatility. Unexpected horns blaze mariachi on "Purgatory's Last Massage Parlor" and Memphis on "I Want It All," while "Love Is Cold Water" bounces with B-3 organ and a New Orleans' jazz romp at the end. The sway behind Mallott's low, breathy swells on "The Artful Dodger" counter the rockabilly piano romp of "Cold Feet." Eliza Gilkyson lends her vocal magic to "Shotgun Suzy," and tender numbers such as "Leaving," "Over Time," and the darkly twisted "Just Like Angels" are all beautifully wrought.