DANIEL BENJAMIN - Daniel Benjamin

Daniel Benjamin - Daniel Benjamin

14 songs
61:20 minutes
***** *
Haldern Pop


I don't have a lot of background information about Daniel Benjamin, but his cover artwork looks terrific. He really respects the D.I.Y. attitude and has packed the CD into a self manufactured paper cover. It's a glued digipack showing, when you're opening it, a three dimensional owl at night. This amazing idea looks like a work done in elementary school, especially as one glued part already begins to loosen. It's the most original CD packing since Something Under My Bed's furry jewel case half an eternity ago.

The music itself is however less exciting than the original packaging. The opener Little Bird is a quiet guitar pop track played at a lo-fi level giving you a hint about what else to expect on the record. If you have to find comparisons, there's on one the hand parallels to The Shins, especially due to the often innocent, bittersweet and melancholic lines. On the other hand, Daniel Benjamin wouldn't cause too much attraction on the recently reviewed compilation by Friendly Psychics Music which contains a lot of acoustic bands. The voices from Daniel Benjamin and FPS label boss John Wenzel are nearly identical.

There are a couple of songs where this recipe works well as on the cool indie rock track Worship Workshop and the floating and spacy Let The Spirit Ride. Even the piano ballad Time Sick is rather nice. Another positive surprise is the distorted Paint A Picture. Although I respect the calm and coolness Daniel Benjamin is spreading, the album sometimes is just too mellow for my taste. The campfire-like The Iron Glove and the male/female duet You Are are too smooth for an easy digestion.

As I don't have much information on Daniel Benjamin and suppose that this record is his musical debut, I think that it can be considered an alright start. Some tracks don't kick, the general approach could be a bit rawer and the album suffers from an overlength, but the general ideas behind the record are promising. Everyone who likes Americana music, lo-fi and the Garden State soundtrack may find an interest in Daniel Benjamin.

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