As the face and frontman of indie-rock trailblazers Blaenavon in previous years, Ben Gregory was seen as one of the more innovative names on the new music scene throughout that time. But when the band began to implode around 2019, he found himself severely struggling with his mental health, receiving treatment for a number of issues he began to face. And while he is certainly moving to a place of wellness once again, that time in his life was one of the hardest things he ever had to go through, resulting in his debut solo album 'Episode', a record that looks to reflect that difficult period.
But while the theme of mental health does remain apparent throughout his newest full-length, 'Episode' is a far more adventurous and sprawling listen than we originally thought. Branching out his style far beyond anything Blaenavon were working on in their heyday, he has used this new collection not only to work through his struggles, but also reinvent himself sonically as well. With its diverse approach to instrumentation and direction, Ben Gregory feels like a brand new name emerging for the first time and wishing to make one hell of an entrance as he goes.
While its inventive ideas can sometimes become a little untethered in moments, the bulk of 'Episode' has this beautifully alluring aura to it, breathing a fresh and exciting appeal as it plays. It may have been conceived during an unwanted experience, but the result is a refreshing look at mental health issues within music, something we rarely get appreciate at this level.