Jay Bennett - The Magnificent Deal

Chicago, ex-Wilco member Jay Bennett's solo release is a presentation of multi instrumental talent. His fourth album is self indulgent, curious and poignant. This pop folk-rock is sounding pretty good, shuffley beats; bendy guitars, tambourines and a crooning style are just a few highlights of what's on offer here.

'Slow Beautifully Seconds Faster' is littered with an accompaniment of chaotic lo-fi synth beats. Vocal style varies throughout, sometimes coarse, sometimes faint. It's a memorable, if somewhat disorderly introduction to what one anticipates may be a striking collection of music.

'Replace you', is a more upbeat catchy number with a country bar swing acoustic style that Chas and Dave would be proud of! I love the full use of sound, Hammond organs dotted with mandolins and banjos. Fun times! Even the pianist sounds joyfully pissed!

It's a generous and brave decision to offer 13 songs. The other tracks consist of quirky drunken country sounds and acoustic rolling love songs. He celebrates his life experiences. We hear exhilaration and devotion but also the more heart rendering moments uttered in the same song. It achieves emotion without being off-putting.

I can always appreciate honest creativity even if it isn't particularly my favourite genre. I admire its modesty. It's a pleasant reminder that pop music doesn't have to be repulsively bland; it can incorporate intricate song writing. This collection is soothing and pleasing. I will find it perfect for my delicate hungover head on a Sunday afternoon…

The peak is found with song 'Overexcusers'. This memorable electro-acoustic epic is a sing along jingle, Del Amitri esq. If this album wants a single then this would be a sound choice of a few worthy contenders. When you hear tracks like this you instantly recognise an image of a close knit of hardcore musicians putting their heart and soul into their art. As if the work itself is its own reward. He writes for himself and is chuffed if anyone else enjoys it along the way.

The closure of the album needed to be handled carefully and it is achieved admirably with the finale 'Good as gold'. This slow softy can be the tearjerker that you've been searching for. It's a sensitive spirit that belongs to part of a stimulating record that will probably not reach the highest heights, but will be played by me again throughout the years.

by Kiran the Killer

Visit the Jay Bennett Website