By People Staff
March 21, 2005 12:00 PM

Awake Is the New Sleep

“They don’t play me on the radio/ But that’s the way I like it,” sings Ben Lee on the infectious pop-rocker “Catch My Disease.” Although he’s been making records since age 14, this Australian singer-songwriter, now 26, has been best known in the States for being Claire Danes‘s ex-boyfriend. Hopefully more American listeners will wake up and take notice of him with this, his fifth album, which lives up to its great title (taken from a line in the Tommy Petty-esque opener “Whatever It Is”). Lee has such an unassuming way and deceptively light touch with these alt-pop tunes—from the countryish gallop of “Gamble Everything for Love” to the moody brooder “Ache for You”—that it can be easy to overlook his sharp ear for melody and smart lyrical spins. On “Apple Candy,” Lee paints a love triangle tinged with bisexual desire, singing in his soothing drawl, “I wanna go where he’s been/ I want you and I want him.” —C.A.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Apple Candy”