The Dutch songwriter Benny Sings whittles his chipper songs down to their foundations. “I’m not a pretty adventurous new music maker,” he instructed an interviewer a few decades ago. “If the chords work,” he included, “what do you have to have a lot more than just a kick and a bass and a vocal?” Benny, whose true title is Tim van Berkestijn, has built a study and a production line out of that method. In his fingers the album format is pure vessel: Here’s a song. Here’s a further 1. And then here’s eight extra. That is an album.

Benny’s eighth studio album Songs is his second for the Stones Toss label. He’s put in a vocation simplifying his tunes, and his current crossover from Amsterdam on to the American indie pop scene feels as significantly like a pitch for Benny the songwriter as Benny the performer. Coming soon after modern powering-the-scenes collaborations with artists like Rex Orange County, PJ Morton, and The Totally free Nationals, Tunes prominently options Mac Demarco, Emily King, and Tom Misch on the tracklist. All of Benny’s albums browse much more like songwriter exercises than grand statements, but Songs does a fantastic job distilling his charms into a solitary offer.

Songs gravitates in direction of blue-eyed soul and yacht rock, and if you have read nearly anything about Benny Sings just before it is probably that he helps make delighted, breezy music. Taken at deal with benefit, that sunshine-on-your-encounter vibe belies the sturdiness of Benny’s tunes. The boxy simplicity of the production hints at his affinity for hip-hop beats, and most of his songs chunk cleanly into verse-chorus-verse formations. “Here It Comes” and “Sunny Afternoon” are both equally slinky pop-soul numbers with a boom-bap framework, and Benny’s voice has a sweet, scarcely-there good quality.

Lyrically, the music on Tunes can craze a bit way too safe, which usually performs in Benny’s favor but sometimes can make a keep track of truly feel generic. Benny has a knack for creating an opening line that sets a music instantly into movement: “There you are, proper out of bed” he sings on “Rolled Out,” like he was nudging the track awake. But given that so a lot of of Benny’s tunes are about enjoy, occasionally the innocuousness of his lyrics can make a refrain audio noticeable or preprogrammed, like it was a placeholder that made its way into the closing draft. Some tunes come off quaint, even twee as a result. “Lost Again” would be a saccharine even as an instrumental, and so a handclap-punctuated line like “I’m misplaced yet again/All these distinctive methods to get inside of your heart” pushes it around the prime. It is hard to think about this wasn’t a nebulous soundtrack assignment from a Disney government to generate a publish-credits anthem.

At its ideal, Music delivers other artists full of their have identity into the fold and highlights Benny’s songwriting. The slouchy guitar groove of “Rolled Up” seems like it came entirely formed from a Mac Demarco album, right up until Benny’s voice will come in and it feels at dwelling right here. They sing in totally different registers, but both Mac and Benny wistfully sigh their lyrics, and Benny settles conveniently into Demarco’s slacker-awesome vibe. The spunky,Emily King-showcasing “Miracles,” in the meantime, is a gospel-tinged like track railing versus the notion of one particular genuine really like. “I really do not consider in miracles…but I feel you’re stunning, enable us just get started there,” he sings. It is evidently a tune intended for and written in the image of King however, who provides it property with her breathy weightlessness. It is not the only time a guest brings his tips all the way to lifetime. Benny’s voice has a light purity, but he uses it practically like a scratch track—just more than enough to get the thought across. There could be some irony baked into his stage identify: Benny Writes is more true, but doesn’t have the identical ring to it.

solid text


Purchase: Tough Trade

(Pitchfork earns a commission from buys manufactured via affiliate hyperlinks on our site.)

Capture up just about every Saturday with 10 of our best-reviewed albums of the 7 days. Indication up for the 10 to Listen to publication right here.