Loren Benjamin by Loren Benjamin (EP)

18 July, 2013 in Music Reviews

Loren Benjamin

Emerging 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Brooklyn bears his soul with this debut release before a full-length album due later this year

Loren Benjamin EPhen Loren Benjamin was first brought to our attention, and we interviewed the New Yorker back in April, it was clear this pleasant, softly-spoken gentleman was the sensitive soul-searching balladeer type, rather than the stereotypical post-punk hipster from the Big Apple. And so it follows, that Loren’s self-titled EP is a gentle and inoffensive affair that treads tentatively along the path furrowed by Chris Martin and David Gray – Midnight In The City, for example, is a uncanny hybrid of the former’s Fix You and the latter’s This Years Love.

This could be a match made in heaven for many, and you can’t blame a man for be inspired by the greatest exponents of lighters-aloft balladry, but there’s no ground being broken here. It’s acoustic-rock that’s been written, played and produced well throughout, but steered with precision through the middle of the road. Even the promisingly-titled Reckless Days Endless Nights doesn’t sound reckless at all.

As the pace quickens with the sixth and final track, Life Smiling, Benjamin is still in Martin/Gray territory, with touches of Crowded House’s Neil Finn, but it becomes clear that Loren Benjamin’s familiar sound is actually its redeeming quality. It’s what makes this EP such a warm companion to the ear.

These half-dozen acoustic anthems are frequently beautiful, unashamedly sentimental and undeniably uplifting, so should leave fans of the genre with a warm glow and a contented smile. Millions of discerning record-buyers who already love the recent crop of soul-searching singer-songwriters won’t be disappointed with Loren’s first effort, and should keep an eye out for his full-length album due out later this year, too.

Verdict: For fans of plaintive acoustic guitar- and piano-led pop

Alex Miles