Young Benjamins – Less Argue album review

Neusha, Vaero, Brynn and Kuba have managed to take four standard components of a bluesy-folk band (plus a violin) and texture them in a way that sounds as refreshing as lemon-cucumber water in a sweltering heat wave.

In a world full of electronically pristine vocal tone and calculated, synthetic melody The Young Benjamins emerge as a necessary authenticity.  A sweet, tuneful assembly you probably didn’t even know you needed, but suddenly can’t live without.

Band leader, Neusha Mofazzali, plays guitar and sings with rich vulnerability reminiscent to the natural and ardent vocals on Dr. Dog’s 2007 album, We All Belong.  Violinist, keyboardist, and back-up vocalist Vaero Poulin is the perfect counterpart to Mofazzali’s style.  Where he is down, she is up, and vice versa.  That is to say nothing of her violin…  These four would have been just fine sans strings, but with the grainy, layered character of Poulin’s playing, they are seamless.  Cue up track two, “Out There (In the Wild)” for proof.

Bassist Brynn Krysa, and drummer Kuba Szmigielski deliver what distinctive melody requires, a backbone.  A technically engaging and dialed-in one at that.  Together they provide deep rhythm with a variable groove.  Harmonies sail when they need to sail, and sink when they need to sink.  “Common Thief” is a firm example.

The Young Benjamins are as cohesive and aurally spotless as they are unpredictable—a curious synthesis they’ve managed to pull off beautifully.  When you listen you are transported by the buoyant and most wrenching elements of each track.  Less Argue is so full of wistful sentimentality and lucid sensation, it’s like reaching into a crystal-clear memory.

By Erin Ginder-Shaw

Erin Ginder-Shaw is a writer from the East Bay who loves scribbling about music and listening to words.

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