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Branches

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Album Review

Benzos is not interested in making cookie-cutter music. Instead, the group relies on its chops and adventurous nature to attempt to get these songs across. And while one can't fault them for trying, at times it is a bit difficult to appreciate. The lead-off track "Sell This Thing" brings to mind a tune that Keane might be able to pull off in its sleep while the mid-tempo pop of "Phase 2" has slight traces of Coldplay in its rather mellow foundation. Aside from two songs titled "Portland" and "Life" which are mediocre interludes, Benzos seem to excel on the winding, twisting and emotional pop/rock of the title track that sprawls towards greater musical spheres. But for every high there is a relatively sub-par track, as is the case with the darker, dub-tinged "Hard to Feel" that sounds a bit aimless and forced. However, things once again return to a promising feeling with the lengthy, heady but well executed "Teach Me" initially driven by Eiko Peck's bassline. Perhaps the first truly great track here is "On Your Own" which sounds like a solid, organic pop tune. The homestretch begins with the challenging, progressive rock flavored "Crooked Hands" which is far too deliberate for its own good. And unfortunately, "Translucent" doesn't fare much better, bringing to mind an '80s retro B-side possibly performed by Simple Minds or Duran Duran that goes off on an odd tangent instead of concluding the album.

Branches, Benzos
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