From his early days with Noise Addict to "Breathing Tornados," the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 1997 solo debut, "Something to Remember Me By," it's clear that Ben Lee is strengthening his complex, acoustically driven songwriting. His lyrical snippets of daily life melodically linger enough to conjure comparisons to luminaries such as John Lennon and Bob Dylan.
More lush than Lee's previous work, "Tornados" was touched by the hand of Spiritualized producer Ed Buller, who assisted with the mostly synthesized sounds and sampled beats, delivering a quirky, yet oddly warm pop album (done entirely on computers). The problem with computerized music is that more effort is required to break beyond the obvious. Lee's songwriting strength and obvious will to experiment with samples -- as in "Sandpaperback" and "I am a Sunflower" -- diminishes this quandary.