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Album Review: Brendan Benson – You Were Right

3 min read

It must be incredibly tough to have appeared on possibly three of the most critically acclaimed albums of the 2000’s and still have people reply to the mention of your name with a resounding ‘who?’. Indeed Brendan Benson has long been best known as ‘the other guy’ in US supergroup The Raconteurs despite singing/writing half of the bands material and having a string of successful and well received solo albums, namely 2002’s Lapalco, a modern classic that bought the singer/songwriter to bandmate Jack White’s attention. Just over a year and a half since his last album What Kind Of World, Benson returns swiftly with You Were Right, an all new 12 track collection of his signature alt country tunes.

Brendan Benson - You Were RightTwangy guitars, swanky rhythms, soothing harmonies and Benson’s penchant for stellar pop rock songwriting is only further showcased on You Were Right. As fans of Lapalco will be aware, the man is a master of decorating a song with the kind of solid hooks that’ll stick in your head for days. Album opener Its Your Choice starts us off with a classic rock strum of guitars, reedy organs, insatiable lapsteel and Benson pouring his heart out in his trademark nasal cry of “How can I love you when I can never tell if anybody’s in there, or just an empty shell”. Benson’s trials and tribulations with the opposite sex are continuous on this record, further explored most notably perhaps in the aptly titled She’s Trying To Poison Me.

Musically, many of the songs are business as usual for Benson with the jaunty if not ploddy, ‘Kinks-esque’ stylings of tracks like Purely Automatic and Long Term Goal which will remind many of classics like What I’m Looking For and of course the widely adored ‘hit’ of Lapalco, Good To Me. Its by no means a bad thing, perhaps just familiar territory. Benson makes up for it however with some enjoyable genre-hopping midway through the album that see’s him having some fun with his sound. Swallow You Whole sees Benson dip his finger into the blues with a piano led swinging beat whilst I Don’t Wanna See You Anymore harks back to 50’s and 60’s soul ballads full with wobbly organ and a brass section. The most interesting sounds however come from I’ll Never Tell which features ska/R&B influenced verses leading into a rollocking punk rock chorus, it works rather well making for an enjoyable display of the singer’s musical depth.

Whether Benson will ever get the recognition he arguably deserves is unknown, after all his work with The Raconteurs is far better documented and with rumours of the band recording a long awaited follow-up to 2008’s Consolers Of The Lonely, its easy to see You Were Right slipping most people by. If the LP proves anything though, its how much of a shame that really is. Benson has earned the right to be recognised singularly and not just as an accessory to one of Jack White’s multiple projects. You Were Right is another triumph in catchy songwriting that holds plenty of substance musically and lyrically, not at all bad for ‘the other guy’.

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2 thoughts on “Album Review: Brendan Benson – You Were Right

  1. Good to see Brendan back in some form. His last two albums were a little underwhelming. What rumours of a Raconteurs reunion have you heard?

    1. Hey Patrick, glad to hear you enjoyed it too. Only whispers around the internet about Benson and Jack White being in the studio together this year, nothing set in stone yet sadly, hopefully something will appear soon!

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