Manchester based singer and songwriter Ben Williams is back with his new album Under The Radar.

The 11-track album marks the latest release from the artist following 2015’s Who Do You Think You Are; 2017’s Put It On Ice; and 2019’s firmly stripped back Minimum of Fuss.

Oddly, we’re going to start by skipping towards the end of the album to the foot tapper Same Again, where Ben Williams sings, “There’s a lot to be said for same again.”  That’s not a complacency Ben Williams has ever incorporated in to his songwriting.  And it certainly hasn’t made its way on to this album.  There’s plenty of variety within the new release, with the album itself striking a slightly different tone.  Under The Radar finds itself treading a textural middle ground between his previous releases.  Certainly not as stripped back as Minimum of Fuss; but more delicate than Who Do You Think You Are and Put It On Ice, the largely folksy (but not afraid to lean on other genres) album features beautifully light touch production, placing the emphasis firmly on the songcraft.

Ben Williams - image courtesy Sven Eselgroth

Ben Williams – image courtesy Sven Eselgroth

Amongst the tracks which make it to the album are the previously released singles Dragon, Staring At My Phone and the stunning Gap In The Rain.

Instrumentation, including electric guitars, stunning keys, percussion and strings is used at times sparingly but always to good effect.  Meanwhile the harmonies are strong throughout as Ben Williams demonstrates his skill at crafting outstanding tracks.

As fans of Ben Williams’ work will expect, lyrically Under The Radar swerves from heartfelt to jovial; with the sonic feel swaying frequently from melancholic (Something To Say) to joyful.  There’s the occasional moodiness and anxiety, but plenty of optimism and hope.  There’s growth, subtle shifts and changes within tracks.  It’s captivating, emotional and entrancing and marks a welcome return for the artist.

Under The Radar is recorded and mixed by Dave Speakman, except for Dagon, Lion Junkie Army Dancer and Same Again which were recorded by Mark Lewis.

Ben Williams releases Under The Radar on 10 March 2023.

image of Ben Williams courtesy Sven Eselgroth.  Artwork by Matt Booth from Ilk Studio