Ben Cooper, better known as Radical Face (@radicalface), bridged the gap between the first and second installment of his Family Tree trilogy with the Always Gold EP. Three of the six tracks featured are varying renditions of the EP’s title track, and, alongside the other three songs, demonstrate just how charming and endearing Cooper can be.
As the album version and the tighter, more concise “Short Attention Span” mix of “Always Gold” prove, Cooper is quite the gifted multi-instrumentalist, crafting something pretty special using his wide timbre range. The fluid movement and progressions that fuel and form his particular brand of whimsical indie pop make for some really engrossing listening. He knows how to work a melody, and, more importantly, he knows how to stretch it and mould it without spreading it too thin.
His more minimal side, however, is one to be admired too. The acoustic version of the title track and the mellow, vivid lyrical style of “Echoes” provide scaled down but rustic and robust warmth to sit alongside the more poppy aspects of the record. Although the multiple variations of the lead single provide a different perspective and allow Cooper to tinker with the mechanics of “Always Gold”, the supporting tracks on the EP are what actually highlight his musicianship in a more intriguing light. They simply provide a more elevated platform for his songwriting abilities.
I must admit, prior to listening to the EP, I was aware of but not overly familiar with Cooper’s work. Though there may not be a vast wealth of material to dig into, this release has certainly spawned a curious itch that has me wanting to dig back into his catalogue and see what it is I’ve been missing. If fleshed-out, folksy songwriting and seamless instrumentation sound like something that may interest you, then I imagine you may just like this quite a bit!