Review: Rich Bennett – On Holiday

Rich Bennett’s tastes seem to veer towards lounge pop as evidenced on his “better than it sounds on paper” last album ‘Music For Supermarkets’, not to mention his significant retro-futurist contributions to great records by Monocle and Hotels. As the title implies, ‘On Holiday’ is a concept album Bennett has created (along with singer-songwriter Rebecca Pronsky) about leisure time away from home and work pressures.

Courtesy of its steel guitar figure and close harmonies, ‘Misty Valley’ represents the initial euphoria of an ideal holiday; arriving at your destination to be greeted by beautiful scenery. ‘Back Around’ evokes sunny days on the beach but ‘Wild Ride’ is the first indication of a darker turn as Bennett and Pronsky’s interchange begins to descend the rollercoaster. Ghostly whistling dominates the eerie ‘EPD’ and the two parts of ‘The Night’ sum up the feeling of disappointment as the vacation draws to a close; the latter part containing some of Bennett’s most beguiling key changes. By the time of end piece ‘Green Memories’ though, events have taken a really sinister detour.

As with some of his previus records, Bennett appears to be in typically laid back mood on the surface. Yet after each listen, the record sounds deeper and more troubled than the last time, which indicates Bennett is a less than ideal travelling companion but at least his music offers an alternative soundtrack.

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

Further Listening:
Monocle, Hotels, Gnac

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