Loren Benjamin by Loren Benjamin (EP)
Emerging 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Brooklyn bears his soul with this debut release before a full-length album due later this year
hen 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