Benzos – Morning Stanzas (CD)

Benzos starts out their “Morning Stanzas” with a very Radiohead-influenced track in “All The King’s Men”. The style of music that Benzos plays shifts throughout the entirety of “Morning Stanzas”, with the shuffling beat of “It’s Amiable” being the most clear example of this. The sweeping guitars present on the track, coupled with a non-lyric set of vocals creates a haunting and yet oddly compelling ending to the track. The style of Benozs often defies categorization, but is linked to acts such as Queens of the Stone Age a number of times on the disc (for example, “Warm Road”. The slower tempo of “Glass Souls” may sink lesser band, but the music that Benzos puts forth is distinct and intricate enough that even this loss in velocity would not create problems for the band. Tracks like “ The Blue Around You” do not contribute in any new ways to innovating the disc, but are still created using the same commitment to quantity that has marked the rest of the tracks on this disc. So, where many bands might begin to spin their wheels at this point , Benzos tremendous basslines (Eiko) and great progression (put forth by the entire band) keeps the band going.

“Morning Stanzas” has a solid production that allows the band to shine without reducing them to computer-arranged samples. This debut album belies the bands greenness, as the music contained within suffers from none of the same pitfalls that present problems to the average first album. The music may not be the most bombastic or awe-inspiring, but its middle-of-the-road sound and talent in the creation of “Morning Stanzas” will be visible to all, regardless of whether they can dig this album. What is exciting about “Morning Stanzas” is the fact that Benzos committed to the album in its entirety, instead of doing what many a band does and sticking chaff on the second half of the disc.

For example, “Mechanical Comrades’” strongest suit comes in the Neil Peart-like bass lines placed on the track by the aforementioned Eiko. The disc ends with the same genre style that is distinctly Benzos’ own; nuanced indie-rock with the required intense sections and omnipresent bass lines. It is important to see that this is Benzos’ first album, and that the band can only get better from here. Any monotony encountered by the average listener on this disc is due to the only rookie mistake the band encounters: trying too hard to create a distinct sound, and reining themselves in too much. Still, this is a great go from this band.

Top Tracks: Spins, All The King’s Men

Rating: 6.6/10

Benzos – Morning Stanzas / 2005 Stinky Records / 11 Tracks / http://www.benzosmusic.com / http://www.stinkyrecords.com / Reviewed 07 May 2005

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