Ben Folds is a man well known for his cheeky sense of humour - most obviously, naming his old band Ben Folds Five when it only had three members. On the evidence of his first solo album, however, he's left his trademark goofiness behind in favour of songs that address more mature issues such as marriage and fatherhood. The piano-driven compositions that make up Rockin' The Suburbs are as hummable as you'd expect and the spiky, narrative lyrics hold the attention pretty well. It's just a shame that the production is so overblown, giving these essentially simple songs epic MOR arrangements which don't suit them at all. Folds is certainly a major talent but the suspicion persists that he still hasn't worked out the best way of expressing it.
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