From the opening guitar riff of 'Falling', it is already apparent that For What It's Worth, the debut EP from Bathurst-born musician Ben Rudgley will be choc-a-block full of hopeful sounds, but complex messages and undertones.
And over the course of this five-track EP, Rudgley bears his heart and soul in passionate detail to provide an easy-listening, yet musically dense experience.
Starting with 'Falling', Rudgley questioningly croons "do you know me, do you remember my face?", before he enters a bright-sounding, but deep, self-reflective state of searching for answers as to why a relationship has ended on uneven ground ['she continues to fly, while I continue to fall'].
'Falling' then flows into 'Hurricanes' seamlessly [whether Rudgley intended for this or not], where the songwriter finds himself in unfamiliar territory without a clear, discernible direction which, coming from a 20-year-old still finding his place in the world, is a very relatable position for young adults to be in.
But despite the fears he clearly expresses, Rudgley first ponders whether to, then decides to "catch this hurricane and run right through the rain", suggesting he's both excited and nervous at stepping into the unknown.
As the EP marches on into 'Gone', Rudgley's nervous energy resurfaces, as he appears to revisit the fallout of an ended relationship, perhaps the same one touched upon in 'Falling'.
But 'Gone' is Rudgley's acceptance that he's ready to move on from this sad event, whereas in 'Falling', he's still quite unsure how to feel.
Which then leads to the outstanding 'Arisaig', which shows Rudgley at his passionate and defiant best, where "he's hoping to see the sun some day."
It's clear from the EP that Rudgley has faced plenty of the common difficulties of young adulthood [lost loves, career moves, existentialism], but he's sensationally arranged these tough moments into four songs that reveal Rudgley's story piece by piece.
And to top the EP off, 'Booster Seat' serves as Rudgley's ode to one of his favourite performers, Spacey Jane, who's smooth-sounding, yet complex lyrical approach fits in nicely with Rudgley's own direction.
It's also worth noting Rudgley's impressive command of guitar, piano and electronic sounds to give each song weight.
But the key part that blew me away about For What It's Worth is the sincerity and honesty in Rudgley's lyrics; songs like 'Falling' and 'Gone' mustn't have been easy to pen; a commendable all-round effort.
For What It's Worth is available on all streaming platforms. For more information, visit Rudgley's Instagram page.
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