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Without a doubt, the single most earth-shaking event that has happened to Ben + Vesper is the formation of the band that is heard and felt on their most recent recording, HONORS. Comprised of Joshua Stamper on lead guitar, John Mosloskie on bass and Steve Oyola on drums, this is the line up that is responsible for the hard-hitting and lush energies that file this album under “Strangely Danceable,” and “Utterly Satisfying.” Sufjan Stevens also plays a formative role with his exquisite piano work, defining key moments throughout. All the while Ben strums and picks his usual non-sequitur guitar lines and Vesper is heard tickling all manner of ivory, from tack piano to accordion to dusty electric piano.The main spotlight is on the voice – Ben’s earthy baritone and Vesper’s ever-expanding alto. Together they canter through an ambitious and detailed melodic course lined with vocal arrangements that finally get Freddy Mercury, Pete Seeger, Little Anthony and Donald Fagan talking to each other. What’s more, Vesper steps closer to the microphone than ever before, taking a sultry lead in the campfire soul song “Understruggle; Yay, Win” and the driving album-opener “Adult vAcA.”

The songs cover vast lyrical territory with laments about misplacing your favorite shirt; a father who unwittingly destroys his own son’s masterpiece; the somewhat weightier matters of Armageddon. All of this psychic drama is embedded into peppy, freak-pop arrangements that could as easily lead you into the rolling waters of Broadway psychedelia and twisted allusions to Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.

HONORS reveals a more confident and adventurous Ben + Vesper, who have surrounded themselves with good friends who happen to be perfectly suited to translate Ben + Vesper’s songs into a pleasing and universal vernacular. Here is an album that is full of dance party music for the unsung heroes of the world. Here is an album that is brimming over with eager anticipation from one track to the next. Impeccably recorded by Brian McTear, Amy Morrisey and Daniel Smith in a total of five days, HONORS is one of those albums that marks a moment in time, a moment worth recording and listening to and talking about for years to come. Four albums in four years on Sounds Familyre, and Ben + Vesper have gone and done it. They have graduated the school of rock, with HONORS.

Track List
1) Adult vAcA
2) My Father’s Eyes
3) Knee-Hi Wall
4) Find Your Friend
5) Holly Home?
6) How You Are
7) Cheer up, Cheers!
8) Sugar Song
9) Consubstantiation
10) All Is Forgiven
11) Understruggle; Yay, Win