A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I discovered Brendan Benson. Well, lets just say about 10 years ago in Dundee. But that doesn’t sound nearly as exciting! Anyways, I bought his album Lapalco and to this day it remains one of the treasures of my music collection. It is, quite simply, fabulous. It gleams from start to finish with the perfect kind of summery pop music that so many bands try, and more often than not fail, to produce. It’s been a trusty companion on my journey through uni, puberty and onwards into the big bad real world. I’ve seen him live a couple of times too, the best one being back in Dundee at the Reading Rooms on his Lapalco tour. It was a truly splendid gig that both Graeme and I were at and got drunk at. I still have my Brendan Benson and The Wellfed Boys t-shirt from that night – though for some reason it’s a little tight these days!
Anyways, whilst Lapalco is undoubtedly one of my favourite records it has also been a major stumbling block when trying to appreciate everything he’s done since. And by that, I mean solo wise, not with the Raconteurs. Though, I shall digress and point out that I have always, always advocated Mr Benson as the hero of the Detroit music scene ahead of the White Stripes simply on account of Lapalco. Anyways, as I was saying, Lapalco kind of stopped me appreciating The Alternative To Love which, whilst not a bad record, fell way short of its predecessor in overall song writing quality. So it was not with a little trepidation that I turned on his brand new album, which for the record was criminally under promoted! Come on people. The Dead Weather are everywhere simply cause of Jack White. Let me revert back to my comment that Mr Benson is a hero compared to Mr White. Or he should be considered one. FUCKING LAPALCO PEOPLE!!!!! Jeezo. Ok, I’ll calm down and continue.
What a relief it is to hear Brendan Benson back to his poptastic best. This album is packed full of Beatle-esque summery, glimmering pop tunes. From opener ‘A Whole Lot Better’ right through to the sublime ‘Misery’ and onwards, this album is just what I needed. I miss Brendan Benson when he’s off galavanting with The Raconteurs. I mean, fair play to him and all, I’m sure project has helped significantly with his finances and career, but I’d love to sit him down and just tell him how the best things he does are always his solo albums. As the first song states: “I fell in love with you, and out of love with you, and back in love with you all in the same day”. Anyways, it’s a delight to have him back in the world of music. If you don’t know his stuff though, don’t start with this album. Go and buy Lapalco. Do it. Do it now and then move on to this record. Enjoy.
TSP Grade = B