Review: Rich Bennett – Music For Underwater Supermarkets

Normally the concept of background music for supermarkets would only entice advertising gurus to listen, yet this particular mini album is attractive for two reasons. Firstly, it’s for “underwater” supermarkets so it must sound a bit different and – more importantly – the music is performed by Rich Bennett, one of the key members of Monocle, whose superb ‘Outer Sunset’ album was one of the highlights of last year. Bennett’s latest solo project is entirely instrumental though and is inspired by “delightfully soporific melodies he heard while riding around in his mom’s shopping cart as a child”.

Make no mistake, some of this music does serve as muzak but it’s of the relaxed, attractively melodic variety, which should find favour with fans of Mark Tranmer’s Gnac records. Aided and abetted by flute and a keening guitar figure, ‘Entrance’ is a track to be taken seriously. Meanwhile the moody, jazzy ‘Swimming Through The Aisles’ and Bacharach-influenced ‘Abyssal Plain’ may come across as soundtracks to bored Sunday afternoons but they also contain a sense of romantic longing. Yet the real essential piece arrives at the album’s denouement as ‘The Underwater Supermarket’ itself makes its wistful, elegant presence felt; it’s a beautiful, mysterious track by anyone’s standards.

Clearly this record won’t be the most demanding record you’ll hear this year but its tunes are ultimately involving. It also has enough hidden depth to dismiss any accusations that this is purely background music.

Web Sites:
Hidden Shoal Recordings Label and Shop Site
Rich Bennett MySpace

Further Listening:
Gnac, Monocle, The Sea And Cake


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