Brendan Benson should really know better. As someone who has collaborated with indie great Jack White and cracked the lucrative advertising and television drama music market with gems such as -Good to Me’ and -Cold Hands, Warm Heart’, one might assume that he would have perfected the formula for a credible solo album. Alas, we’re on to solo album number four and Mr Benson has produced only a meagre effort. The whiny intro to -A Whole Lot Better’ should act as a warning, but leads to what is a seemingly forgivable and upbeat number. However, the happy-clappy precedent is followed to a painfully constant degree throughout much of the record. -Eyes on the Horizon’ tries to take a more serious turn by borrowing from Oasis, but relies overly on repetition.
-Garbage Day’ starts with an almost cringeworthy helping of corny keyboards and strings that finish up on the wrong side of retro, while the amateur-sounding synths of -Gonowhere’ take away from an otherwise credible track. Benson is an able singer with a distinctive voice to boot, and his rich vocals still shine despite some unfortunate instrumental decisions.
-Feel Like Taking You Home’ almost reaches its ambitions of being somewhat menacing, while the swelling strings and unimaginative piano chords of -You Make a Fool Out Of Me’ are yawn-inducing. Simplicity finally starts to work with the laid-back and engagingly understated -Lesson Learnt’, but this improvement is too little too late. My Old, Familiar Friend might be catchy in spots and harmless in its intentions, but all in all is a disappointing result from someone who could do so much more.