Goth Review: Royal Benson

October 25, 2010

Royal Benson (LONG) DRIVE (self-released)

Spike: Royal Benson is definitely for fans of sophisticated pop/rock in the Steely Dan/Prefab Sprout mode.

Goth Woman: The Royal Benson sound is rather un-trendy, at least for the blues-country-jazz-classic rock leaning Susquehanna Valley where they’re from. Yet, just about anyone who comes in contact with Royal Benson can’t help but find something to enjoy about them, from their very pleasing vocals, to their sense of song craft, to their diverse musicianship—with an emphasis on rhythm section, Bill Frisell-like ambient guitars, and saxophone. Sometimes, the way they mix the saxes reminds me of The English Beat circa 1980.

Spike: The songs tend toward the long side. They don’t quite go off on progressive-rock tangents (maybe they save that for the live show). They almost go over the cliff with that, but hang on to the top with a well-constructed song template.

Goth Woman: The memorable tunes are “Red Maple,” “What She Gets,” and “Drive,” presented in two variations, long and short.

Spike: This is music you can listen to like an onion. Every time you take down one layer, you find another.