Wednesday 8 May 2019

LISTEN: Benedict Benjamin - 'Truant'

Not that it was ever in doubt... but Truant, the new record from Benedict Benjamin, is a triumph. A sign of a great album, it's incredibly personal for Ben, while remaining relatable. In the way that a piece of literature might reflect the time in which it was written, this record sees Ben detailing the challenges and joys of experiencing parenthood for the first time following the birth of his daughter. His talent as a storyteller is exhibited through an array of lyrical themes, which give an honest account of his experiences of introversion, incompatibility, lack of sleep, family, relationships, heartbreak and love.

Sitting in between slower tracks I Spy and Halo, album singles Ain't EasyTell Me If You're Lonely and The Way You Talk To Waiters provide the more full band sound that Ben has employed for his second album, a departure from his debut Night Songs, though the influence of early sixties music is still very much present. 

Melodically, Culture War is one of my favourite tracks from the record - which was a highlight of a recent live set I saw Ben play in London too. Elsewhere Baby's Crying provides the most obvious comments on Ben's new found parenthood, with lyrics such as "it don't stop because it never does, there's always something new" proving the harsh reality of the situation. A lyrical favourite of mine from the record is the track Alone, a gut-wrenching song positing that "I don't know why I am like this, I have done my best to fight it, sometimes I just need some time to be alone."

Closing the record, Motherfucker (another favourite at the gig recently) provides an amusing but succinct summary of the emotions that run through the record. "I'm a motherfucker baby, my mum's a motherfucker too, you're a motherfucker baby and that's what I like about you. Now we're gonna have a daughter, and we're gonna raise her right, she'll be a motherfucker always cos that's the only way to live a life." Ben describes it as "a song about the core unit of people in my life and how much I love them" and closes the track, and the record, with"you keep me strong, I'll steer you right" - a lyric full of hope. 

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