Album Review: Brendan Benson - What Kind Of World

18 July 2012 | 8:49 am | Katherine Edmonds

You can’t deny that this is a man who understands music – he can write a hook and melody like it’s nobody’s business.

More Brendan Benson More Brendan Benson

Despite this being his fifth solo release, Brendan Benson is still more commonly known as Jack White's sidekick in The Saboteurs. After taking a three-year hiatus from his solo career where he married and welcomed his first child, Benson has followed up his 2009 release My Old Familiar Friend with What Kind Of World.

The opening, and title, track is a little bit of a non-starter sadly. But while it falters, the second track Bad For Me flourishes and picks up the slack with its ballad-like sound. Post-marriage and fatherhood, his songs of loneliness and general relationship woes ring somewhat hollow, and this latest release reeks of a musician going through motions – he's singing the words (and they're beautiful), but you don't feel it in your bones.

The Light Of Day, Happy Most Of The Time and Here In The Deadlights capture Benson's trademark '70s rock sound effortlessly. They're not unexpected, but consistent and easy on the ears. Pretty Baby falls somewhere between pop-rock and spoken word, and the beat is surprisingly haunting and dark compared to the rest of the album. Closing track On The Fence is just that; witty and mischievous, but it leaves you feeling it could've been taken a little bit further.

You can't deny that this is a man who understands music – he can write a hook and melody like it's nobody's business. It's just unfortunate (for his music at least) that the heartache he sings of is so one-dimensional now; this album is crying for fresh hurt to lend the angst that it's sorely lacking. It's still a good album, just a little safe compared to Benson's previous releases.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter