by tom johnson
Some songwriters just have the knack for it; a sustained ability to craft pop songs that sound brilliantly effortless and dazzlingly compelling all in the same splash of brilliant colour. Ever Ending Kicks, the recording project of one Paul Benson, had already shown such endeavour, his previous “Weird Priorities” LP climbing inside our Top 10 Albums of 2013 list with the same effortless grace that underpins every moment of his brilliant follow-up, “Music World”, which was released via his Bandcamp page last month.
Still centred around Benson’s soothing lead croon, that drifts between breathy falsetto and something far more subdued, and his inventive musical backdrops that take in electronic flourishes and fantastically unexpected excursions, Music World is an immersive eight-track retreat that feels like some sort of void between reality and fiction; where shapes and colours bleed in to each other like some dreamworld fabrication. Indeed, Benson says of the record: “It aims to conjure live performance in a space played by a band with instruments, but it is not that…the extraterrestrial idolizing and mimicking the human is part of the charm, even the theme.”
A beautifully cohesive set, each track here feels like a slightly different take on the one which precedes it, while each track also runs on for at least four minutes. Both of these aspects help to craft something truly immersive, the record taking on a world of its own and lifting the listener right in to the very heart of it. Like a hazy disco full of pastel colours, Benson’s own take on dance music could feel decidedly awkward in similar circumstances, but he handles the whole thing with such a heartening sense of care that the result is wildly fun despite the meandering inventiveness that is found in the small details that outline his work.
Another inspired set of songs, you can grab the album on cassette tape via the above link, and stream it in full below.