Ben Lieber is the drummer of Buffalo-based space rock band Head North, and if you’ve had a listen to their 2017 LP The Last Living Man Alive Ever In The History Of The World, you’ll know that they live in the stratospheres of alternative rock. Outer worldly, fuzzy, angular- (The Hold Steady with some balls)- they keep you well on your toes. Marigold, the solo musical offering of Lieber is quite the contrast musically. While Head North took you to distortion-filled euphoria in “Head North is a Business” and airy driving music in “The First One”, Marigold strips things back to acoustica and finds serenity in the indie folk opening of “Anyways”. It’s a beautiful song, about life on the road and the fleeting connections you make with people, that evokes memories of Bright Eyes and Rocky Votolato.
What is most striking is that in just four songs, Lieber can take the listener across a wide spectrum of genres. In “Under the Moon”, Lieber taps into some beautiful Americana. Basked in some lo-fi sheen, the song is a trek down the back roads of bluesy roots. And best of all, it is a reminder that sometimes to make great music you just need two things- a voice and a guitar. “Under the Moon” achieves that. “Life Goes On” is a little reminiscent of the work on the self-titled Marigold full length Lieber released last year. Like “Grey As the Sky”, the song finds its footing in indie folk, but get into more pensive introspection coupled with grander guitar noodling- soaring to its electric crescendo.
As the Votolato-esque “Lavender” (a cover of Virginia singer/songwriter Mike Frazier’s track) closes the proceedings, it is clear that Lieber has an innate talent to evoke a great deal of scope with just a few songs. There’s a lot to like on The Swinging Sounds …, it’s a good collection of songs from a talent that traverses the range of Americana music with poise and aplomb.