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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Folds Five are back - and yes, they are as good as you hoped!
Well, my hopes were ridiculously high for this album...and having got it back from my local independent record store and played it from start to finish, I'm overjoyed to report that 'The Sound of the Life of the Mind' easily surpasses my greatest hopes for how good it could be. It's a phenomenal piece of work - funny, sad, beautiful - oh, and it Rocks. It Rocks like your...
Published on 18 Sep 2012 by Jono Gilmurray

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9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was it really worth it?
I've followed Ben Folds Five / Ben Folds ever since they played backstreet clubs in the UK, full of no more than about 200-300 people. They are such good musicians, and make fantastic music.

When they went their separate ways, Ben came back with Albums like Rockin' The Suburbs. - Which were equally as good as Ben Folds Five releases ( if not better than the...
Published on 18 Sep 2012 by Jeanette Smith


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Folds Five are back - and yes, they are as good as you hoped!, 18 Sep 2012
Well, my hopes were ridiculously high for this album...and having got it back from my local independent record store and played it from start to finish, I'm overjoyed to report that 'The Sound of the Life of the Mind' easily surpasses my greatest hopes for how good it could be. It's a phenomenal piece of work - funny, sad, beautiful - oh, and it Rocks. It Rocks like your Mommy. The best piece of piano-based punk rock for sissies you'll hear this lifetime!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect album!, 21 Sep 2012
By 
S. Rogall (Frechen-Königsdorf, NRW Deutschland) - See all my reviews
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A band that re-unites... That often smells of desperation, of cashing in after less successful times.

Well, Ben Folds certainly did not need to reunite with his two excellent bandmates from Ben Folds Five because he has established a remarkable and highly successful solo career.

So this new BFF album definitely was not made because of monetary reasons (and if it was it never sounds like it). Folds obviously wanted to work again in this format. And the result is one of the most hauntingly beautiful and fun albums of the year. It is filled with perfect melodies and lyrics, arranged with vibrant but never self-important ideas and virtuoso timing. In a better world this album would be a megaseller, dominating the worldwide charts.

Every song brings out a different impression of the band's multi-faceted abilities, from the wickedly sardonic and perfect opener "ERASE ME" to the barn-storming "MICHAEL PRAYTOR - FIVE YEARS LATER", turning inwards with the melancholic mid-tempo "SKY HIGH", changing gears again with the intricately fashioned rhythm of the title track "The Sound of the Life of the Mind", delivering one of the groups BEST BALLADS ever with "ON BEING FRANK", following it with the deliciously silly and rhythmically complex "DRAW A CROWD", diving right into the up-tempo country-punk lead single "DO IT ANYWAY", before going sweet, sad, ironic and melancholic with the closing trifecta "HOLD THAT THOUGHT" (with fantastic voice arrangement), "AWAY WHEN YOU WERE HERE" and "THANK YOU FOR BREAKING MY HEART" - three songs that bring an unexpected emotional power to the closing of this record.

Nobody can craft a melody that stays in your head after hearing it for the first time like Ben Folds. Once again he excels at what he does, and his two exceptionally wonderful bandmates Robert Sledge (bass) und Darren Jessee (drums) have definitely inspired the whole endeavour, lifting Folds to new heights.

A perfect album!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Are Back, 19 Sep 2012
By 
G. Southwell (Portsmouth) - See all my reviews
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I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from Ben Folds 5 reforming, I loved their early stuff, it was young, angry and full of bounce. But they are older now (as am I!) and trying to go back to their roots completely would surely end up with a slightly desperate result.

This album feels like a bridge between the Ben Folds 5 albums and Ben Folds best solo album, Songs for Silverman, with the added influences of Folds jaunts into Accapella showtunesy melodrama (in a good way) and his story telling from the work with Nick Hornby. We have the perfect mix of the upbeat "Erase Me" and "Do It Anyway" to the moving "Away When you Were Here", the wistful "On Being Frank" and the wonderfully childish "Draw A Crowd".

Aside from the first two BF5 albums I have felt that all of Mr Folds work has included a weak song or two that I would often skip, I am quite a few listens in to this album and if there is a weak song I haven't spotted it yet. Part of me wanted a new "Underground" or "Battle of who could care less" but they have been done.

Can't wait to see them live in December!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They're Back, 19 July 2013
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They've outdone themselves in all departments.
The lyrics shine brightest in Do it Anyway and Away When You Were Here. He can still tell stories as shown in On Being Frank which feels like the amazing 'Boxing'.
The songs can be heartbreaking "Thank You for Breaking My Heart" is maybe one of Ben Folds' most beautiful songs.
And yet they can still rock out as shown on Draw a Crowd which consists of probably their best chorus since Song for the Dumped.

The piano playing is at its best on Do It Anyway, Erase Me and Michael Praytor.

It's rare to have a band return after so long and release an album which feels like they were never gone. Yeah they don't sound exactly the same but that's because they're more mature, this is a richer kind of music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the professional critics., 29 Nov 2012
By 
It seems the Amazon reviews for this cracking album do it justice, which I'm glad about. But I thought I'd just add: most of the professional reviews of this record have been utter twaddle. First off: hacks expecting BFF to come back with nothing short of the finest album they've ever made, and mewling because they haven't, are frankly demanding too much. Second, a couple of reviewers commenting along the lines of "this is basically no different to a Ben Folds solo album, with a little more grit", are talking utter tosh. Finally, a handful of suggestions that Folds himself doesn't sound like he's in it to win it. Again, claptrap.

So here are the facts. No, it's not quite as good as "Whatever And Ever, Amen", but then which albums ever are? It's certainly better than "The Unauthorized Biography..." and whatever recent Folds solo offerings I've heard. It contains a slightly weedy closing track ("Thank You For Breaking My Heart"), a pair of mellow growers ("Sky High", "Away When You Were Here"), a pair of charming BFF mid-tempo ballads ("Hold That Thought", "On Being Frank"), four absolute old-school BFF stompers (the title track, "Erase Me", "Do It Anyway", "Draw A Crowd") and, finally, one inspired, original, energetic, eccentric and completely brilliant song ("Michael Praytor, Five Years Later") which is as good as anything BFF have ever created, now or then. The latter five songs will be enough to satisfy any former fan that this reunion is not a cash-in, shadow-of-its-former-glory travesty; "Michael Praytor", with its Steely Dan-on-speed harmonies and crunchy instrumental mayhem, could be enough to win BFF a whole new crop of admirers. Let's hope so.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Growing older with Ben Folds Five - and still loving it!, 1 Feb 2013
By 
D. Birdsall "Dave B" (North East) - See all my reviews
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Like other reviewers I was a bit worried that the magic of the BFF would be lost, or worse tainted, by this new album. How wrong can you be! They are older, and funnily enough so am I, and as if by magic they have written the new soundtrack to your life. Earlier albums reflected the anger and innocence of youth. This is wholly more mature and constructed with purpose and soul. It still has humour, outstanding musicianship and beautiful melody, harmony and lyrics, but it does it with confidence and energy, not a money grabbing "reunion" effort.

First listen "Sky High" and "On being Frank" jump out, but just listen again, and again and I dare you skip a track.

If you like BFF or Ben's solo stuff then this will hit and land very well. If you don't know his stuff then this a good place to start, but you will want to buy "Whatever and ever, Amen" and "Songs for Silverman" very soon afterwards. Enjoy!

David
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4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back BFF!, 22 Jan 2013
By 
Simon Smith "Alty fan" (West Midlands UK) - See all my reviews
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Reunion album for Ben Folds with the Five (actually two). This set is a more mature collection than when they parted company over a decade ago although the songs are still typically Folds with humourous lyrics and songs about bad relationships to the fore.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a brilliant piece of kit!, 11 Jan 2013
By 
Alan D. Evans "Big Al" (London) - See all my reviews
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The art work on this album is enough to satisfy on its own!! A lonely robot on his travels, beautifully illustrated and wonderfully put together!!!
And how funny to have a blank side for side four telling me I will eff up my needle if I play it and if I want I can draw a dick in the centre! And the vinyl is thick and chunky and with only 3 tracks on each side the needle fits in perfectly
As for the music Ben and the boys have come up trumps again! The opening track 'Erase Me' sounds like a seventies mad Sparks tune. Then Micheal Praytor and the lovely Sky High!
The rest of the album is just Bliss full The Ben Folds 5 harmonies, tunes and piano rockingness!
I've been a massive fan since the beginning seeing them at the 100 club, Ben Folds was good on his own with his 2 albums Songs for the silverman and his first solo album but the 5 together are back! Thank the lord for small mercies!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a brilliant piece of kit!, 11 Jan 2013
By 
Alan D. Evans - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The art work on this album is enough to satisfy on its own!! A lonely robot on his travels, beautifully illustrated and wonderfully put together!!!
And how funny to have a blank side for side four telling me I will eff up my needle if I play it and if I want I can draw a dick in the centre! And the vinyl is thick and chunky and with only 3 tracks on each side the needle fits in perfectly
As for the music Ben and the boys have come up trumps again! The opening track 'Erase Me' sounds like a seventies mad Sparks tune. Then Micheal Praytor and the lovely Sky High!
The rest of the album is just Bliss full The Ben Folds 5 harmonies, tunes and piano rockingness!
I've been a massive fan since the beginning seeing them at the 100 club, Ben Folds was good on his own with his 2 albums Songs for the silverman and his first solo album but the 5 together are back! Thank the lord for small mercies!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A grower but so worth it, 11 Jan 2013
When I first heard it I thought it was a good album but several plays of it later you realise its an amazing album, rarely do I find an album that I look forward to hearing every single track. This is a perfect album to listen to if you've listened to their earlier albums or just want to start listening to great music
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