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Happy Hollowdays

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Album Review

Reviving the sounds of British singer/songwriters from David Bowie to Morrisey, Craig Bennett gives little impression that he actually hails from Macon, GA. As his songs are saturated in a melancholy aesthetic, alternately quirky and cranky, Bennett employs a sly and somewhat obscure wit. His orchestration is generally rather stark, with guitars and keyboards mixing with the occasional cello or horn to create an appropriate sonic backdrop for his coolly detached musings. When at his best, it's possible to hear a little Nick Drake in the soaring pop progression of "Wandering Ways," which boasts choruses that approach a similar melodic elegance. Bennett's voice, however, is clearly evocative of Bowie. Tracks like "Soviet Tanker" and "Strange Machine" find Bennett using cleverly sarcastic reflections to mediate cascading synths that drive arrangements occasionally running a little too long for the average pop tune. Though not startlingly unique, Bennett does well to present his most marketable traits. When his words sometimes fall out of meter, it generally enhances the nonchalant tone of his delivery; where his words are evasive, they allow listeners to find their own implications. That said, Happy Hollowdays is a fully realized effort.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A true Renaissance man -- as a filmmaker, painter, and musician -- Craig Bennett is a master of Americanized Brit-pop. A singer/songwriter drawing comparisons to Nick Cave and David Bowie, most are surprised to find that Bennett was actually born and raised in Athens, GA. Bearing little to no resemblance to the plethora of throwback pop bands in the Athens musical tradition, his brand of icily layered pop and deadpan delivery place him in a category with few obvious peers in the realms of indie rock....
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Happy Hollowdays, Craig Bennett
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