Steve Benjamins’ music has been described as indie pop, but that’s a big catch-all. “Sightlines” (his third EP) has all the sweet melodic jauntiness you’d expect, but it also evokes beauty tinged with melancholy, and some songs are rather special. Steve Benjamins has invented his own musical territory.
With a powerful, expressive and soulful voice, he doesn’t overwhelm the material but steers a subtle course. Two singles have been released and they are very different from each other. “We Used to Live” is upbeat and catchy with the sort of singalong chorus that audiences sing back at performers. It’s the track that could be most described as ‘pop’, and it’s easy to see why it was chosen as the first single. Although I like its infectious melody, I fear it may give the wrong impression of the album when heard in isolation. For me, the other tracks are more interesting and have more depth. Second single and eponymous title, “Sightlines” begins slow and sparse, introducing pizzicato strings and a soulful electric guitar.
Two tracks on this six-track EP are over very quickly. “Devotion” only lasts 1:48, a passing breeze of beautiful soft vocal harmonies. “Later On”, even shorter at 1:24, is enjoyable whilst it lasts – a bit Coldplay-ish, it could have developed into something more substantial.
“Exploding Boy” is emotional and intense with poetic imagery, building to an explosion and a soft landing. And I’ve saved the best until last. On the bitter-sweet, languid “Steamroller”, Benjamins’ voice sounds gorgeous over a simple arrangement of piano, guitar and strings, with gentle harmonies. It is simply wonderful.
This Toronto singer-songwriter has written all six songs, co-produced and played nearly all the instruments on this release. It stands or falls with him. It deserves to fly, and Steve Benjamins is a name to watch.
First Single: “We Used to Live” – 17th April, 2015
Second Single: “Sightlines” – 29th April, 2015
Album Release – 15th May, 2015
Stream and share the first single We Used to Live here: