Best Vancouver Albums of 2014


Ben Everyman – Subourbon
Listen: “2 A.M. Drunk”

Anyone who’s seen Ben Everyman’s solo show knows he’s not a typical country-rocker; the mannequin torso he usually hauls around with him onstage says as much. Sure, the speedy gallop and stand-up bass-slapping of “2 A.M. Drunk”, which opens his third album, Subourbon, suggests direct ties to a lineage of hard-drinkin’, rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ journeymen – a lawless, Johnny Cash-like vagabond – but even this first track hints at quirkier tendencies.

Instead of drowning his laments about a broken heart or the Dust Bowl Days in hard liquor, Everyman heps himself up on Code Red Mountain Dew – to play video games, as he sings on “(UUDDLRLRBA) Select Start My Heart”. His genre-bending goes beyond “Select Start”‘s lyrics and the 8-bit blips that pixelate the song’s background: he nearly raps on “No Nonsense Nellie”. And good luck finding titles like “Polyamorous Date Night” or “First World Suicide Note” on old country singles.

With strong doses of humour and wit, and a sound slightly left of one of the oldest forms of popular western music, Subourbon is, like the title of the album’s second-to-last song, blues moderne.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu