eMusic Review 0
It’s one of life’s greatest conundrums that purveyors of power-pop — one of the catchiest, most accessible musical genres — often remain inexplicably obscure. That’s certainly the case with Brendan Benson, who’s released four pristine solo albums indebted to skinny-tie new wave, snappy mod rock and kaleidoscopic ’70s pop-rock since 1996. Even the retro-sharp songs the Detroitnative co-wrote with pal Jack White on two Raconteurs albums didn’t help his 2009 solo album, My Old Familiar Friend, resonate with a wider audience.
Although slightly more subdued than My Old Familiar Friend, What Kind of World, Benson’s fifth solo record, is more diverse, with forays into slinky junkyard blues (“Pretty Baby”) and sepia-toned country (“On The Fence,” a duet boasting loping saloon piano and the Emmylou Harris-goes-pop-tartlet warble of Pistol Annies member Ashley Monroe). Benson even expands his love of ’70s textures to include prog-pop on “Here In The Deadlights”; the tune’s droning riffs, wonky keyboards and Benson’s clipped, helium-buoyed delivery bear more than a passing resemblance to Rush.
Benson self-produced What Kind Of World at an analog-only studio in his adopted hometown ofNashville, and the vintage touch enhances the album’s sound. His usual nods to AM Gold — the Elton John-esque “Bad For… read more »