If you're already a fan of Benjamin Shaw —if you've already been infected with the Pox, if you're a self-identifying rumfucker that has spent even a portion of a summer in a box room staring at the ceiling and hoping for another cabernet— then this album doesn't require much selling. Just knowing that Ben has been sitting in his bedroom with his headphones on cooking up a new album, and that this new album is officially out today, well… that's all the information any Shaw convert should need.
It's you non-converts that probably need some extra persuasion. Because, like anything Benjamin Shaw, he puts up a few walls and musical scarecrows to keep the casual passerby from getting too close, too easily. The opening track goes 4 minutes before it lets you in on the brilliant and not often heard relationship advice of “isolation = longevity”, and you probably won't hear the next couple tracks that follow on any ‘Now! That's What I Call Music’ compilation. But If you're willing to commit, if you're willing to keep following that “Blackpool'r that's been struggling in London for longer than he'd like to remember” voice down the layered with noise and dread and heart and static and dry english humour rabbit hole… before you know it, you'll find that you've been transported into Benjamin Shaw's head, à la Being John Malkovich. But don't worry, by the end of it you won't be spat out of some New Jersey turnpike… you'll probably just wake up on a park bench somewhere (or find that you've missed your bus stop).
Goodbye, Cagoule World is the perfect combination of everything that Ben has been practicing / experimenting with in his music over the years… and it just so happens that what he's been practicing / experimenting with is how to make an album that can briefly highjack the listeners reality; something that pulls them into his worldview, straps them in his shoes and has them temporarily walking around ol' London town with B.S. tinted glasses. And he's really nailed it on this album.
So go put on your headphones and prepare yourself to spend the next 29 minutes in Benjamin Shaw's world. It's an interesting and unusual and strangely familiar place to be (just don't forget the sun screen, he burns easily).