Everyone’s plans went awry last year (and several continue to be off course this year) and while some artists persevered with releasing long-planned albums, others decided to wait. There was – is – no way to know what the right time is any more, as all the old rhythms are disturbed. But that also means it can turn out to be the right time. Singer-songwriter Ben Ransom recorded his new album, Brave New World, in 2019 with producer Matt Fell and steadily released singles and accompanying videos throughout 2020, yet the hoped-for release of the album was delayed until now. That means Brave New World is arriving at a time when even though it’s summer here there are still some doldrums – and this album is a great way to shake them off.

Ransom has an impressive country-rock voice, with just the right tone and control to give each song what it needs at the right moments (and sometimes that’s restraint). The songs are tightly written and produced – and while Fell can probably produce an album standing on his head, his skills shouldn’t be taken for granted, because he is able to bring out the best in the material and artists he works with. Ransom brought him songs that are rowdy and fun and sentimental and cheeky, and we know that because all of those qualities are there in the way the songs are recorded.

Most of all on this album, Ransom excels at sounding like he’s having the time of his life – and that’s where the music-as-medicine aspect comes in, because it’s really, really hard to not enjoy this album. If you need a collection of songs to lift the mood at a newly allowed gathering of your mates or just to make your housework more bearable, this is the one. So the delay wasn’t ideal but it’s hard to imagine a better time for this album to be released, because it’s needed now, and no doubt it’ll be blaring out of a many a car window and backyard barbecue over the last weeks of summer.