Bena Nights is the first release from Franklin Crozier and Ryan King who use the moniker King & Crozier. The duo formed earlier this year and play sad melancholy music that revolves around an acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies. Bena Nights is far from perfect but does show some potential and suggests the band is just getting started.
Aesthetically speaking Bena Nights is about equal to that of a demo. The oddest thing about the quality was that it varied quite drastically from song to song. I should also point out that there is a significant difference in volume, which could have be rectified if the songs were properly mastered.
The title track is the first and also the highlight of the EP. It starts with guitar picking and a vocal melody and lyrics that at times reminded of Conor Oberst. The song starts off strong with ambiguous but poignant lyrics and strategically placed vocal harmonies. That being said the voices didn’t always blend well together and felt too separated which was mostly due to how it was mixed. The song is melodramatic and starts to run into trouble in the last thirty seconds. They attempt doing two different vocal parts, which are supposed to be harmonious but instead end up making the lyrics indiscernible and the melody fuddled.
“Full Bloom” was another solid tune and like the previous song starts off very strong. The only thing holding this song back is the recording quality. It sounds as if they are a room away from the microphone. They use some type of percussion that ends up being too prominent in the mix. At some point they may want to re-record this song. Stylistically they follow a similar style by going over the top grandiose and celebratory towards the end of the song.
The last song “Worth The Risk” starts out melancholy and stays melancholy. The vocalist ends up comparing love to cocaine but surmising that it's worth the risk. This song is vacant of vocal harmonies.
King & Crozier are implementing the classic combo of melancholy, sparse instrumentation with tortured young artist type lyrics. It’s been a cliché for quite some time for a number of reasons and I don’t think it will die any time soon. The ladies (usually the younger ones) go for it and the artist can get away with sitting by himself in the corner peeling an onion at a house party because he is the eccentric type.
King & Crozier have some talent together but seem to be in the embryonic stage of their development. With this material they haven’t yet figured out how to find different layers between melancholy and grandiose solace like an artist like Sufjan Stevens or even Devendra Banhart has displayed. They might be able to get there so keep your eyes on this duo.
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