Ben Folds Five
The Sound of the Life of the Mind
Imaveepee Records/Sony Music
By David Chiu
After a 13-year recording hiatus, Ben Folds Five –Ben Folds, Robert Sledge and Darren Jessee– returns with a fine new effort in The Sound of the Life of the Mind. Reunion albums are sometimes a tricky deal, but this comeback record from the trio is a return to form. The energy and chemistry of their previous works still remain albeit with some maturity that naturally comes with the passage of time as well: the angsty “Erase Me” and the country shuffle of “Do It Anyway” are rollicking numbers; “Michael Praytor, Five Years Later” is very catchy as it is poppy; and the terrific “Draw A Crowd” is a soulful quirky, almost danceable tune. The ballads on the new album are very lovely and lush as on “Sky High,” “Away When You Were Here,” and the devastatingly beautiful if melancholy “Thank You for Breaking My Heart.” If this record is any indication, The Sound of the Life of the Mind won’t be a one-off from Ben Folds Five but rather the start of a new chapter in their career.