by / September 25th, 2009 /

Brendan Benson – My Old, Familiar Friend

 2/5 Rating

(ATO)

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.

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