2 Dec 2022

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Ben Horlock - Single Review: Don't Wait On Me

21 Nov 2022 // A review by Nicholas Clark
Ben Horlock (Ngati Porou/Te Arawa) is a pop artist from Dunedin who has an ear for a great pop melody, a knack for moody blues guitar lines, and the kind of voice talent scouts are always listening out for.

His latest release Don’t Wait on Me features the prominent high hat of modern trap music coming out of Atlanta, an ambient synth lifted from a goth club track, with some deep bass chords to anchor it all together. Atop these instruments, Horlock sings an expressive song about fear, longing and attraction with a rich reverb. There’s even a sweet little guitar solo by Horlock at the end which only hints at his abilities as a guitarist.

The ‘live’ full version of the song begins with a far more epic lead guitar solo and segues into the pop version, and I have to admit, I prefer this version. Perhaps for popular appeal, Horlock decided to release the song officially beginning after this solo, but the words appear to have so much more meaning after the impressive lead playing. This expanded version, in a world with longer attention spans, should be the song to introduce people to the artist. His guitar playing skills appear to be an unmistakable element that no doubt inform his note choice and his aesthetic in general.

The dark lyricism of “why would you think I’d want to call you, after everything we’ve been through, what makes you think I’d want to know you, coming down” is a pretty strong way to start a song, but the synth intro hints at strong emotions. It is a break up song after all. The chorus is when Horlock really shows his vocal prowess with a high falsetto as he sings the title of the song. I’m reminded of Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (The Weeknd) and other pop artists like Charlie Puth, Harry Styles and Bruno Mars.

His guitar playing, his secret weapon, is more reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix and at times the atmospherics achieved by The Edge and David Gilmour. It all makes for a sensational pop song that has real depth and emotional charge. It might not be the most catchy song, but it is unashamedly pop, directly responding to a specific emotion and situation.

For music lovers and those going through a dark time.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Ben Horlock

16-year-old Ben Horlock from Dunedin recorded his first single at Roundhead with NZ Engineer of the Year Jordan Stone. One More Time For Love was mastered by Leon Zervos Studio 301 and released during November 2019.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ben Horlock


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