Actually a trio (piano, bass, drums), Ben Folds Five's second record, "Whatever and Ever Amen", picks up where their first left off: sweet hooks, vicious lyrics, and plenty of attitude. If there was any justice (or sense) in radio, this album could produce at least five chart-toppers and re-inject a sense of edgy playfulness back into pop music that Green Day might have achieved if they had had more than one song in them.
Most people would tend to think that a group composed only of a piano, a bass, and drums was either a novely act or devoted to making inaccessible music, but this couldn't be further from the truth with Ben Folds Five. Ben Folds practically hammers his piano at times, using like the percussion instrument that it is, while the bass is often distorted to produce a sound that is closer to a fuzz guitar than it is to traditional bass. Add to this the crisp drumming, vocal harmonies, and biting lyrics, and you have a sound that is unrivaled in contemporary music.
Tracks like "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" and "Song for the Dumped" exemplify the raucous punk abandon that epitomizes the band at their best. "Kate" and "Battle of Who Could Care Less" are perfectly crafted MTV-ready jewels, while "Selfless, Cold and Composed," "Cigarette," "Brick," and "Smoke" show off the band's sensitive side. One of the best albums this year; you should definitely pick this up.