First thoughts - I loved the album cover. I’m assuming it’s our musical hero as a young aspiring musician, contemplating just how in the hell he’s going to make the drums work on that damn stool with his feet dangling above the pedals – tough spot to be in. I’m a drummer myself, but I didn’t take to it until I was 11. I missed the awkward “too small to rock” years. Perhaps, this cover tells no more than that surface image and generates a cheap laugh at best? I can’t find any deeper meaning myself, so let’s move on shall we?
The first few tracks are too dreary to be pop and not up-tempo enough to save face and escape from becoming some kind of pseudo ‘80s emo revival. However, that in and of itself is a pretty a cool achievement.
A Song In Every Key sounds a little like The Beatles meets Ben Folds meets a less grating Bob Dylan. It’s definitely an interesting blend that only Benway himself could concoct. I just wish I had more to say about it. There are some nice female supported songs and to that I raise my glass. Ilona Davis only brings more life and a rich quality to Benway’s work. In my opinion, she could find a more frequent place in the albums to come.
Their harmonies are sweet like nectar with just the right amount of intimacy. All the compliments Davis brings to the table still can’t save some of this material, however. The juncture between “Hollywood Boulevard” and “Pearls For Swine” doesn’t have a sense of continuity. It sounds like two different artists, two different albums. Not the biggest foul here, but a compromising attribute nonetheless.
“Store Me Whether” gets points for creative song titling, but the tune leaves me pretty dry despite the rain sample at the end. And then we have “Rose Colored Glasses.” Davis is back and all is well. Not that I’m playing favorites, but I just know when this album starts to take off it’s her at the mic. This track might be the strongest of melody, songwriting and it’s still just over three minutes. Benway picks his pieces carefully and the big picture is a wonderful thing. I just want for the next go around to be a little more “Sixteen Candles” a little less “Touch Me.”
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