Mild-mannered Reading solo artist Ben Marwood has really grown into his role of witty troubadour since picking up a guitar and hauling himself onto the road in 2004.
In 2011 he released his début album proper, Outside There’s A Curse, on Xtra Mile. After plenty more touring, including an excellent set at 2000Trees, playing with Frank at the Olympics and on tour support in the US, as well as his own shows, Ben released second album, Back Down. Pop music for the bitter but trying, Ben’s songwriting now treads familiar tracks with wry and sparkling boots, and a tongue that could get him into trouble if he wasn’t so damn likable. Unassuming yet intelligent and dedicated, Ben has augmented the over-burdened folk-inspired UK touring circuit, each lilting melody punctuated with a snappy line to match.
He thoroughly deserves his place accompanying, and complementing, the likes of Billy Bragg, Jim Lockey, Franz Nicolay and Chris T-T. After a forced hiatus, and a tentative return to the live space supporting Frank Turner at Union Chapel in December 2015, began recording album number three and it is slowly reaching completion…
Non Canon exists apart from the story we know and love. A concurrent storyline, a different perspective, the world we experience through someone else’s eyes; familiar but insightful for its new dimension.
In another life entirely, Non Canon gathers maelstroms of guitar noise and feeds them with caustic, yelled, (a)stringent sentences, calling himself Oxygen Thief. Having spent ten years deftly swerving expectation at every measure as OT, Non Canon turns things on their head again. He threads cello where there may have been feedback once, places a third chord where two key changes could have lain, and repeats a chorus line where a scream may have broken the silence instead. He’s returned to his acoustic beginning, that’s true, but he’s torn that up and refused to retain his previous self-taught lessons.
When recording the self-titled album, all the strings, piano and drums were written on a computer before being sent to musicians to learn and play on recordings. Chris T-T’s piano playing stand out on ‘Bad Twin’, while Ben Marwood and Charlie Barnes (a touring member of Bastille) contributed backing vocals, along with Gareth from My First Tooth playing drums, and the guitarist from Barry’s first ever band playing violin and viola.
Non Canon is a new story, but it’s a story of its own, one that we will soon know and love with its own history, character and setting.