The first few seconds of the first song off The Lonely Ones by Chris Benton had me worried. You hear a lone guitar that sounds like it was recorded on consumer radio from 1986. It’s evident that the guitar tone is a bit of a farce when it gets trampled by a meaty electric guitar, thick bass and drums. Chris Benton’s debut album The Lonely Ones is a polished, pretty straightforward rock album. The songs have a ubiquitous, commercial appeal that will resonate with fans of top 40 hard rock.
Whether you dig the songs on this album or not it’s obvious Benton is a talent when looking at a couple of different factors. You could have told me that a four-piece band was playing on this album and I would have no reason to doubt you. It’s sounds like a live band but the reality is Benton played the guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Benton also sings with conviction. The emotion that runs through his voice isn’t subtle and is one of the most appealing aspects of the album. It's an aesthetically appealing tone that meshes well with the music he plays.
The songs were hit and miss for me. Benton’s lyrics sometimes feel simplistic, lacking poetic gymnastics and some of the hooks are predictable and sound too familiar to something you may have heard before. That being said the good outweighs the bad and there were a couple of songs that were notable.
“The Golden Rule” was a highlight and I especially enjoyed the verse. The guitar riff had an inventive, jagged stop and start type rhythm that was an enjoyable riff to latch on to. On top of that Benton delivers a solid vocal melody that is quite catchy.
Another notable song was “Some Call It Conforming.” Benton loses the distorted guitar and creates an open canvas of instruments letting his vocals breathe. “Running On Fumes” has a bit of sludge metal vibe that contains unique palm muted guitar playing during the verse.
Overall, The Lonely Ones isn’t without its flaws but the honest, heartfelt emotion that went into these songs will not go unnoticed. Check it out for yourself and see if it’s your cup of tea.
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