Get into the college, indie spirit with Steve Benjamins’ new album ‘Sightlines’
College started this week on most campuses across America.
If you’re one of the thousands of students getting back into higher learning, you’re likely going to be on the hunt for some fresh indie music to help you feel inspired to finish your Abnormal-psychology homework, or your Mass Media 101 homework, among other broad ranges of topics you’ll be cramming for at 2:30 a.m. the morning before the test in a few short months.
With that in mind, I present you with Steve Benjamins latest album, “Sightlines.”
Benjamins sounds a bit like Bon Iver, a bit like Sufjan Stevens crossed with a little of Patrick Watson. The music blog “Indie Shuffle” called him “A little bit like Justin Vernon and Michael Stipe.”
Nearly all of the songs on “Sightlines” are reflective, low-fi and touch on some higher truth bubbling just under the surface. The album, only six songs long, also was practically made for putting on shuffle and discovering something new about the music that you may have missed the time prior.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing to yourself “We Used to Live For It,” as you pour yourself orange juice in the morning or as you shower before heading to the dreaded 7:30 a.m. class that you convinced yourself that you could totally wake up for.
I’m not saying that you have to be a college student to enjoy this album, mind you. It’s just that Benjamins has most certainly carved out a niche with this album, and many of the folks who reside in that pocket of fandom are likely to be indie-loving college kids.
Some of my favorite tracks on the album are the title track, the previously mentioned “We Used to Live For It,” and “Exploding Boy.”
Most all the songs are anchored by Benjamins’ smoky, vulnerable vocals that unfolds itself over layers of backing instruments that on some tracks blends from just one or two instruments to a whole bevy of them.
For instance, on “Exploding Boy,” the song swells more and more until finally, as the chorus hits, it’s an outpouring of sounds, emotions and a chant-like vocal pattern.
“Sightlines,” in contrast, is much more sing-songy and melancholy. It’s got a soft and sweet touch that works quite effectively.
And that’s really could sum up the entire album. Benjamins uses his musical gifts effectively to create an album of songs that you’ll want to keep listening to, whether you’ve finished your homework or not.