“Give & Take” wastes little time in ripping the book open to another chapter off the album “Thread” by Lost like Alice, a project by singer-songwriter Ben Parker. And it’s indicative of the album’s darker feel as well as Parker’s new found comfort and confidence to bare his soul. The track’s first hook sees him postulate “You won’t see me break on the surface, when I give in?” amidst ripples of sparse guitar. Both lyrically and instrumentally the track descends into the abyss of the soul, and the twang of the guitar echoes of its reverb soaked sentiment. It’s at its most potent and tortured when it builds slowly over a haunting vocal performance, and it mirrors Parker’s desperation perfectly before taking center stage toward the song’s brilliant end.
The guitar oscillates between minimalist and grandiose throughout, and it’s difficult to overestimate the eerie power that it wields. The way it quietly underpins the verses and the way it boldly shines on its own, attests to this dichotomy of naked styling, but despite its undeniably sparse nature, “Give & Take” still features more than enough depth in tone, to maintain the interest of even the most transitory of listeners.
Ben Parker earns his stripes as an artist not only with his aptitude at the acoustic, nor just with his crooning affected voice, but with his penchant for storytelling. He writes his music and melodies to describe an image, a scene, and his lyrics work toward the same end. Neither are subservient to the other.
Lost like Alice displays an uncharacteristic energy within a gloomy framework which allows him to stand out from his peers, as he bursts out of the traps on “Give & Take” with a guitar style that manages to sound as raw and spontaneous as the song’s intimate theme, while the broody atmosphere covers the track like a fresh blanket of volcanic ash. This song sees Ben Parker leading us through the dark recesses of his very private, personal, and internal thoughts.
More than a cursory glance at the album’s black & white cover is enough to paint a vivid picture of the contents within, and it doesn’t take long to realize that this is a young man who no longer seems to have any reservations about bearing all to his fans, and the sense of freedom that this has created, allows him to release a deeply efficacious and truly brilliant song, and subsequently, brilliant album.