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Brendan Benson- Dear Life Review

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For casual listeners or fans of Jack White, you may remember Brendan Benson as one of the members of Jack White’s band The Raconteurs. For those that dig in the crates a little deeper, he’s a veteran solo artist whose discography dates back to 1996. Benson’s been quiet solo-wise the last 7 years after starting his label Readymade Records and releasing You Were Right in late 2013 but he’s back, kicking off the cobwebs with Dear Life- put out, no less through White’s Third Man Records.

“I Can If You Want Me To” cracks the lid on Dear Life, sounding like a Dead-Weather-esque rendition of Royal Blood’s “Lights Out”, reiterate Benson’s garage expertise. “Good To Be Alive” trades in the guitars for keyboards and sets a more lax tone, while “Half a Boy (Half a Man)” leans towards the contemporary garage again while dabbling in blues and classic rock. “Richest Man”, with its Stones-y vibe and celebration of family “I got two beautiful babies, and one hell of a good-looking wife” gives a new definition to the term “dad rock”; the horns carry over to “Dear Life”, a tune tangentially resemblant of “Shooting Star” by Bad Company albeit with a little more pizzaz.

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“Baby’s Eyes” continues in a personal and mature direction, touching upon love, trust, and honesty as unshakable virtues in Benson’s closest relationships. “Freak Out” is pure old-school garage flavor, “Evil Eyes” coalesces around an easy groove and treads closer to The Raconteurs. The fuzzy, rattling “I’m In Love” rumbles in and goes in a blink, fading into the 60s throwback “I Quit”, set to a repeating bare-bones chord progression. “Who’s Gonna Love You?” returns to the Raconteurs once more, particularly the likes of “Top Yourself” and “Carolina Drama” off Consolers Of The Lonely. Coming full circle, in the end, both Benson’s solo sensibilities, as well as his group contributions, are shown here and perfectly balanced off to make a wholesome record, beginning to end.

 While it certainly took a while to happen, Brendan Benson’s 7th is a great addition to his catalog. Dear Life serves its purpose not only as a fine piece of almost-easy listening but as a progressive milestone in Benson’s life, guiding along and inspiring many others in a similar situation. Benson and his craft continue to evolve side-by-side, the quintessential mark of an authentic artist. Much like life, whatever lays next with him is anyone’s guess.


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Matt Derraugh

Matt Derraugh is a musician and freelance writer based out of Winnipeg, Canada. He is a lifelong drummer and avid fan of music in general and seeks to fulfill his passion for the art by writing on it as well as playing it with a series of local bands across various genres.

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