Hay Fever is a well-awaited debut for Crane fans, being the most innovative and erratic nine-track album yet. Alongside of Crane’s previously released work (Almost to a Halfway House, Maitri), the new album caters to lyrical truth and complete optimism- not to mention upbeat, hip-shaking tunes like “Rodeo Rookie.” Several different instruments are scoured over the tracks, making Hay Fever an exceptionally different, but musical, masterpiece.
“Summer ’99” is the start of Hay Fever, beginning with an immense amount of energy. The album rotates and slows down on tracks such as “Alma Mater” or “Calvary Drum,” which are both heart-filling, sing-a-longs. “Rodeo Rookie” is an upbeat, foot-stompin’ track on unconscious lust. The fifth song on the album, “Rishikesh,” is an extremely modest tune that carries my worries on its back – a simple release of the mind. It’s one of the mellowest tracks on the album, putting the average listener into a chill trance. “The Rosary” is another thumb up on the album, portraying the humor of Catholic rebellion.
If it is not a crime to say, Ben Crane is a musical replica of the great Ben Harper (one amazing singer-songwriter). Hay Fever reminds me of early Ben Harper days. Not only do they both possess a strong resemblance, the creativity in this album can be compared to the professional and highly-praised work of Ben Harper. This could easily be a musical game of Ben vs. Ben!
The majority of Hay Fever was recorded from a bedroom, with a wide range of eclectic sounds. Matching Ben’s distinct voice, the songs of the album display just how unique the project has become. From beginning to end, this album is lyrically inspiring. If you’re looking for an independent folk album made from New York’s best, Ben Crane is the guy to lend an ear to.