by Stephen Chow
Steve Benjamins: Sightlines
Let’s just get this out of the way. Steve Benjamins is one of those artists who does most of the work himself. He plays most of the instruments on Sightlines. He writes all of the tracks. And Sightlines is Benjamins’s third EP in two years. Damn, I feel lazy.
Today’s artists know that all of the work rests on their shoulders. Making the music, promoting the music and then touring with their projects. It never stops. But they do have the freedom to make their own sound. This is where we benefit because Steve Benjamins gets to create his own thing far away from the committee.
What is surprising about Benjamins is that he looks like a startup guy from Silicone Valley and has a Bon Iver thing going on. Of course, Bon Iver looks like a startup guy too so…
Benjamins’s music has been described as downtempo. I don’t agree with this assessment. It’s deep and complex without being pretentious. Peaceful. Peaceful is a word that comes to mind.
Sightlines Track Breakdown:
“Sightlines” is a very excellent track. Light, not sappy, kind of classic in the guitar riffs but with a modern lift to it.
“We Used To Live“ is a cooking and ponderous track. Could be a club track. Doesn’t really matter. Easy to get into.
“Devotion” is a trip. Ripples with melody. The mix is superb. Our editor likes that word when she hears something she likes. She heard this across the office and yelled, “Superb!” She’s the only person I know who can yell that word and make it sound punk rock. But it’s a superb track.
“Steamroller” does just what it says, only with a kind of early morning power and reference. Freaking gorgeous. Benjamins’s voice is head and shoulders one of the best one’s I’ve heard this year, maybe even last year and this is the track that demonstrates that fact. His voice flattens you.
“Exploding Boy” is this sort of hopeful, high-energy popping kind of track. Bristling with joy.
“Later On” ends the Sightlines EP with reverence. It seems like a great way to end something so large and looming. It’s a mountain of an EP but one you’re really glad you climbed. No effort at all.
Steve Benjamins and Brian Chan.
We Used to Live