Bursting onto the scene in 2017 with the hit single ‘ Kingdom Leader’ Boo Seeka have been regulars on the music festival scene ever since. Ben ” Boo” Gumbleton started the band in 2015 with original founding member Sam Croft and their debut single Kingdom Leader was streamed more than 15 million times, launching their career into the stratosphere. The album debuted at number eight on the ARIA album charts and earned them coveted spots on festival line-ups Beyond The Valley, Groovin The Moo and Splendour In The Grass.
Releasing a slew of hits during lock down, the band seemed on track to release an album with hits like ‘ Millennium Drive’, ” Moonlight Run, Never Enough and Tripwire the album seemed to be writing itself. However with the shock announcement in June 2021 of Michael May having left the band, these tracks, inspired by lock downs have been scrapped from the new album and we see an entirely different side to Boo Seeka.
Having worked with producer Ian Prichett on the debut album, this new offering sees Ben as a solo act has moved on with Matt Bartlem who has produced albums for Lastlings and The Butterfly Effect, to bring an entirely different sound to the new album.
Opening with the track Dream, Boo tentatively asks: What would you like to be? Inviting listeners to dream and begin the journey that is this new album.
As we move through the soundscape that is REAL, Ben’s hypnotic voice lulls you into a sense of security, a calmness washing over your very fibers. The album is a departure from the familiar sound that listeners have become accustomed to, a more electronic and mature offering- a growth of sorts for the artist.
Tracks ‘ Dream‘ and ‘ Finish What You Started’ are your quintessential dance tracks, sure fire hits that will light up dance floors once they are unleashed onto audiences. With these tracks listeners get a whole new sound, heavily influenced by more traditional electronic sounds. The addition of voice effects is a new sound adding to the more electronic feel of the album.
As it progresses through to tracks Real Love and Next to Me the electronic dance vibe continues. With Next to Me, there are so many sonic effects and layers to the track at times Ben’s hypnotic voice gets a little over whelmed as the sound becomes the star, swamping his incredible voice. It feels at time as though the production competes and fights with what is an already a fantastic voice, two egos battling to be heard.
As usual Ben’s song writing is impeccable, as proven with his debut album. There is an emotive sensitivity to Ben as a writer and some of his lyrics often catch you right where it hurts. With REAL however, it feels as though producer Matt Bartlem needed at times to pull back and let Ben’s voice do what it does best: shine. With a unique voice like Ben’s there is little need for voice effects or fancy production tricks, his voice is impeccable as is without all the wizz- bang flashy sounds. It simply doesn’t need it.
Paralyzed moves away from the over produced sound and is a hypnotic track, and is a gentle offering. Lyrically it’s well written with a simple sound and evocative lyrics making it one of the best tracks on the album. Following on with BTL ( Break the Light) Ben’s voice again is allowed to take center stage, right where it belongs.
Towards the end of the album it returns to the electronic sound that again swaps Ben’s voice with Happen. The song is catchy and fun, and is one that will have audiences dancing, however again with the production sometimes less is more.
Overall the album is a fantastic offering from Boo Seeka, and a memorable follow up to the debut album. Closing out the album with Let Me Feel, a simple track the album ends on a sombre note. Comparing the two albums, both are equally powerful offerings and Boo Seeka will continue to ride the wave of success that is sure to follow this album’s release.
REAL is out now.