Album: Ben Folds & Nick Hornby, Lonely Avenue (Nonesuch)

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The Independent Culture

An odd one this. Ben Folds, pioneer of piano-core, hooks up with Nick Hornby, author, and sings – exclusively – the latter's words.

And they're words which, initially, make you want to slap him for bitching about the lot of the writer. Fortunately, Hornby is better when he steps outside his own experience, with vignettes about stewardesses and rednecks. "Picture Window", a description of a visit to a terminally ill patient, is particularly poignant. He's a wordsmith of note, no question. The frustrating thing is, so is Folds.