Brendan Benson - Lapalco - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Brendan Benson - Lapalco

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2006-07-01

He might be best known for receiving the ferverent patronage of his fellow Detroit natives the White Stripes, but the songs on Brendan Benson's second album display little of Jack and Meg's raggedy-assed garage roar. Rather, Lapalco pricks memories of fine power-pop groups from years past. Drawing on the somersaulting melodies of Fountains of Wayne and Teenage Fanclub, Benson and his longtime musical colleague Jason Faulkner write ornate, technicolour-bright songs that revel in their own rose-tinted slackerdom.

On the misleadingly titled "Folk Singer", feedback-strewn power-pop melodies eddy past like dandelion seeds on the wind, while Benson sings self-consciously geeksome lyrics that directly reference his idols: "She says 'Stop pretending/ You're not John Lennon'". Sure enough, on "Tiny Spark", squelchy organs herald a classic-sounding 1960s riff that might as well have just stepped out of a time capsule. But Benson injects enough character and humour into his songs to avoid a sticky, stagnant fate. "Met a girl/ Introduced myself/ Asked her to go with me/ And no-one else" he sings, earnestly, on "Metarie". "You need a bath/ Your clothes are wrong," comes the withering reply, "You're not my type/ Know we wouldn't get along". With the gall to dump himself on his own record, how could this self-confessed loser fail to pull a winner out of the bag? --Louis Pattison

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