Benlavain – Come On People (CD)

The straight forward rock sound of Benlavain works well with the slightly snotty lead vocals of Oren. With a healthy dollop of sixties psychedelic rock, Benlavain just as successfully blend the two disparate styles as either Ming Tea or Lenny Kravitz could ever. Later tracks like “Ain’t Got Love For Yo” move further back into the psychedelic realm, with enough distortion to take over practically all facets of a track. Benlavain really hit their stride during “Glory”, a track that shows their ability to put forth a sound that gains power and speed like a snowball. Oren’s vocals during “Big Apple Sun” mix Gavin Rossdale with a seventies type of sound; the bass line further brings back the sort of-disco sound that comes through at times on the track.

With the vast majority of songs on “Come On People” hanging out between two and three minutes, Benlavain come and go pretty quickly on this album. This tendency to speed through their tracks really is a boon rather than a burden for Benlavain, as the band abandons a track before it can start taking on water. The band gets further kudos in making such an obvious ploy to include an earlier style without subscribing to the whole retro mindset; there are some contemporary elements on each track on “Come On People”. “The Same” is the farthest that Benlavain get to taking the seventies style and completely creating a track around it; Oren’s vocals approximate those of Justin (The Darkness), while the arrangement and general sound of Benlavain during the track seem to take on a Blue Oyster Cult type of sound.

For some reason, the most radio-friendly song “Come On People” is nearly at the end of the disc. This track is “The Sun Child” and comes through with whispered-out vocals like Joseph Arthur, while still titillating listener’s ears with the sweetest tones the band can come up with. Finishing up with another mash-up sound during their “Million”, Benlavain mix together Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service, and newer Neil Young to end “Come On People” in a very memorable way. The band comes through with a disc that is not full of hits, but is solid from beginning to end and shows a band that will become more cohesive and coherent as the years pass by. Pick up this disc to see where the band will go from here; I know I will keep my ear to the ground about Benlavain.

Top Tracks: The Sun Child, Million

Rating: 6.0/10

Benlavain – Come On People / 2005 That 70’s Boy / 11 Tracks / http://www.benlavain.com / Reviewed 17 January 2006

[JMcQ]

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