In this post-pandemic world, it seems like everybody has been faced with numerous and difficult challenges, and as our societal realities have shifted and become increasingly complex, it can be hard not to feel lost. These are exactly the themes that Milwaukee based Americana band Ben Harold & The Rising explore on their new and aptly titled album, These Days, released on October 22nd.
The band, which consists of Ben Harold (vocals, guitar), Carl Crumbliss (bass), Dan Kolesari (keyboards), Joe Howard (drums, background vocals), and Ken Zabler (guitars, background vocals), combine elements of both roots-rock, Americana, country, and rock. Taking inspiration from bands like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street band, and Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Ben Harold & The Rising mold both older and current styles to create a sound that is both unique and modern.
Their exciting new 10-track LP, These Days, is a perfect showcase for the band’s electric energy and fiery passion.
The first track on the album, “Just a Ghost,” is a triumphant rock tune, with big and open guitars soaked in distortion, a fiery guitar solo, and Harold’s powerful and gritty voice on full display. During verses, the band sounds like they are barely restrained, soon exploding into full aggression during the choruses.
In “Bad Luck,” the third track off the record, Howard’s groovy drum beats and Crumbliss’ boomy bass lines are locked in extra tight, while meandering, reverb-soaked guitar riffs float over their solid foundation. Harold’s grungy and snarly voice is even reminiscent of Ten-era Eddie Vedder. Additionally, the organ on the track further elevates the mix, giving this tune a tastefully psychedelic aura.
The fourth track on the LP, “Walk Away,” is relatively laidback compared to the songs prior.
In this thoughtfully stripped down song, the band does away with their loud, thunderous guitars, and Harold instead reveals his emotional vulnerability and sensitive side. The song has an undeniable 90s alternative rock influence, showing similar vibes to “Lightning Crashes,” by 90s fan favorite alt-band Live.
Halfway through is the track “Needle,” which shows Harold exploring a more bluesy and country style. It’s a smokey dive bar jam, with twangy and crunchy guitars, and a Stevie Ray Vaughan-style guitar solo that shows off their technical guitar bravado. This tune ultimately reveals this group’s sonic versatility.
The sixth track, “Lucy,” is an extremely powerful midway point for the album. This ultra-chill tune features a lush and ethereal electric piano that washes over the listener’s ears with serenity. Harold’s passionate vocals and sentimental lyrics emerge from the ocean of reverb, shocking the listener and thrusting them back to reality. Harold’s pain and yearning seep through his rugged vocals, making for an intimate and emotional listening experience. At times, the tune bears a striking resemblance to Marc Cohn’s hit song, “Walking in Memphis.”
These Days is a remarkable debut for a promising and versatile band, and it shows how Ben Harold & The Rising are so much more than just another Americana band.