words by Bernie Bolger

‘Future Reset’ is “Lo-fi alternative” multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Witt’s latest solo project and LP styled release. As a former member of The Chemist and a session musician for Empire of the Sun and Kevin Parker, Witt definitely doesn’t need to prove his worth with this release. Instead, it’s a solidification of his own name as someone making waves in Western Australia’s amazing, talented and diverse music scene.

‘Future Reset’ is a magnificent blend of afro-beat, lo-fi guitar rock, and synth-pop that works surprisingly well as an auditory mix. Not only is there a mix of styles but a mix of feel. Witt combines jarring guitar and keyboard licks with funky bass lines and drumbeats, which domesticate these more erratic elements without stealing any of their brute power. Listening through, you’ll find your brain questioning the sound at times yet your foot already tapping along.

‘TV Dinner’ does well to epitomise the aforementioned influence blend. A dissonant synth motif haunts the backbeat groove of the shakers and toms. What might feel like a clash submerges its claim as so with repeat listens, and is won over by the movement of the song and its pop structure. The playful theme is also a great juxtaposition to the darker sounds coming from this track.

On ‘Dead Fish’, we reach the most accessible point of the album, a great guitar pop cut with a ridiculously fresh colour wheel of sounds. The rhythm here is especially noteworthy, as the bass work hand in hand with the drums to gel into one sound. The song introduces itself with a repeating, sporadic yet melodic tribal guitar sample, which integrates into the tonality of the whole song perfectly.

There are songs on the album that become trapped in alternative rock clichés but are saved by Witt’s glorious musicianship. ‘Leeches’ chorus is a strummed affair that is echoes the worst of bland ‘alternative rock’. The track tries to salvage this with a driving guitar motif and vocals that are lost in their effects. This is the only point on the record where mix divorces the vocals leaving them out to dry.

The almost seven-minute cut ‘Marble Orchard’ achieves a transcendence of its run time through the raw power it holds. A highlight of the album, it’s simultaneously a guitar tour de force and a dip into synth-pop. The post-chorus instrument exchange is almost like a conversation between the songs elements. There is even a sound on this song, which sounds like the middle ground sonically between the guitar and synth sounds Witt has created, a testament to his sonic capabilities.

The album plays very comfortably from front to back. For the most part, it keeps its head above water, preventing a drowning in lo-fi sounds. At it’s best, its fusion music that lends itself to pop structures gladly and with the rewards of its conventions.

Rating: ★★★★

You can score yourself a copy of ‘Future Reset’ now via Bandcamp, and Perth fans can Benjamin Witt at his album launch party this Friday night.

Ben Witt - launch - acid stag