Benzos – Branches

Benzos – Branches / 2007 Stinky / 12 Tracks / http:/ /

“Branches” stars off with “Sell This Thing”, a track that has a heavy instrumental component to it. During this track, Benzos creates a style that touches upon acts such as Coldplay and Snow Patrol, while still having the jangly guitar work of an early Radiohead or Oasis. The result is something that has more than a little bit of history, as well as having a current and contemporary type of sound. The introductory track may be a little on the long side, but Benzos makes individuals that are listening in pay attention and stick with the track for the entirety of the song. I can completely see Benzos achieving a great deal of acclaim from tracks like “Phase 2”, but it remains that the act has a focus on the instrumentation present on their tracks that few bands that are popular in the current period do.

This attention to instrumental detail will be what keeps Benzos in the limelight much longer than other similar sounding acts. “Branches” is the title track, and it shows a much more restrained Benzos take the stage. This does not mean that the band does not impress with their arrangements, but rather that the band allows listeners to go and discover the intricate interplay between the different instruments. The vocals are still present, in all of their emotive glory, but the band again pushes the instrumentation to the lead position on the track. “Portland” is the track that fans of Benzos have been waiting for; the vocals clam up for the entirety of the track and the much more impressive, intricate instrumental side of the band is able to shine unfettered.

While it is true that the track barely makes it above the ninety second mark, individuals are clued in to how wonderful a full length, instrumental Benzos album would be. I believe that if the band were to do that, that they would be put alongside early Ampline or Desert City Soundtrack in regards to the level of talent that they show on the track. There is just so much to focus on during “Branches”, and this means that listeners will have to keep this disc in their player for weeks to come before they can tease out all of the different styles and sounds that ultimately create the whole of Benzos’ style. Give the disc a go if you prefer the instrumental to the vocal, the indie to the hard rock.

Top Tracks: On Your Own, Crooked Hands

Rating: 7.1/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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