I must admit that listening to Brendan Benson makes for one very upbeat time. It might seem that pop rock might be making a comeback. With John Mayer as its poster boy and with Gavin DeGraw on the rise, Benson might be joining the two. With the opening track “Spit It Out,” Benson – with his calm vocals and patient rhythms – sounds very much like DeGraw, albeit mellower.
But the similarities sort of end there, as Benson heads towards sounding more like alternative contemporaries, The Shins (“Them And Me”) and Oasis (“What I’m Looking For”). His love for 60s rock is shown in “Get It Together” (The Byrds) and for 70s rock and metal in “Gold Into Straw,” which blends Benson with Electronic Light Orchestra and Blue Oyster Cult. Rock isn’t the only thing Benson wants to try. He experiments with a mini-disco flavor in “Alternate To Love” and also “Flesh And Bone,” much like Josh Rouse.
What Benson strives to do is remain consistent, which is very hard to do when Benson constantly moves around in his music. This moving allows his music to be called pop, but not in the derogatory demeanor when said in the same breath as Britney Spears or Hilary Duff (although I do like the Duff). Benson’s pop isn’t suited for MTV’s Total Request Live, but for the few remaining ‘lite rock’ and alternative radio stations left on the air. Too bad MTV doesn’t play Benson’s pop.