Benjamin’s Brother–compelling, magical, and not too sweet.

You know how most people gain some weight over the holidays because of all of the cookies, rum cake, and rich foods?  It’s fun to indulge once a year in all of the bad things we tell ourselves that we aren’t supposed to have. Then January comes and we start our new diet and exercise plans to work off all of that indulgence and it actually feels good to eat something leafy, green, and not cooked in bacon grease.  Well, I gained a bit of music weight over the holidays.  I didn’t listen to much music at all and when I did, it was terrible.  I will not even tell you what I was listening to because all of you hipsters will judge me.  Let me just say that it felt great, but it also feels great to jump back into things with something a bit more earthy.

 

Benjamin’s Brother is one man and his friends gathering in Israel with a couple of guitars and a computer to create songs about the lives we all live. This self titled album is their first and I am definitely hoping for more. The lyrics are simple, elegant, and raw. The sound is South Dakota ghost town meets the modern age.  Folk, rock, electronic.  It leans one way then switches on you, taking you off in a different direction than you expected.  The lyrics bring back memories. Sometimes painful ones.  Yours or someone else’s.

“I” tilts and dives. The storytelling is poignant. The voices multiply in places, harmonizing before pulling back together.  It’s a short song, but it’s kind of like baklava–perfect, lots of flakey layers and not too sweet.

“Story About About a Broken Heart” is a soft, timeless ballad about love and loss.  A conversation with someone who you still love, even though you’ve hurt each other.  New voices keep joining–it’s really beautiful, like a magic trick.  “When we grow old, we’ll think about all of the lies that we’ve told”.

“Song to a Friend” begins with accordion sounds, tinkling piano sounds, and the words, “I’m going to the market to meet the devil now.”  This story is a tragic one.  Remembering a friend who took their own life, wondering what they think, missing them so intensely.  The music travels like a caravan, voices along for the ride but also providing direction.

 

Most of this album is sad, beautifully sad.  It’s compelling and introspective.  The final track is equally as compelling and introspective but hopeful and blissful.  The singer examines the tiny habits of his companion, thinks on how beautiful they are, how much comfort they bring, how this person is something incredibly special to have.  The guitar plunks away, drifting into a rippling, purple sphere of distortion.  It is the perfect ending to the song and the album.
Benjamin’s Brother is a real treasure.  Check out their full album and support this really cool band mixing timeless songs with modern sounds.  They have a beautiful thing going.

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