(Image; Benedict Benjamin; ‘Night Songs’ Album Artwork)
Benedict Benjamin’s ‘Night Songs’ is perhaps the most sensitive emotive record of late. Understated, refreshingly honest and at once lyrically relatable. Each song a journey through the confessions of a narrator honest to his flaws and follies. The way by which every word is softly spoken accentuates this emotive quality.
Opening with a humble quick step of a track: Move on Those Tired Feet, every word echoed, accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The dance soon retires to give way to I Wish Your Lies Were Better; a low impending percussive backdrop, accompanying the haunting harmonies, switch between the narrator to the lover, questioning truth, leading to the candid confessional catchiness of Thin Skin – “I’m a sum of choices made; there is who I’d like to be and who I am”.
Just when the narrator is at his most fragile, the confessions pave way to the most romantic, dreamy waltz: I Would Like To See You Tonight. Yet the soft swirling, graceful vocals: “We danced until the morning, till we couldn’t walk” are soon ushered by the sweeping strings, that drift away – “Couldn’t be closer, yet so far away”.
Unable to part with the memory, the uplifting enthusiastic rhythm of My Feet Have No Need For The Ground enters. Elated, although elegiac in tone: “Don’t know how you got in; now you’re under my skin; you’re every thought I think; you’re every sound I sing”. The nuance of tragedy is foreshadowed in the lyrics: “I am lost and I’m losing you”.
A passionate and troubled romantic at odds with his character, struggling through, finding and then losing love. The confessional state of the narrator reaches its peak on Better Man: “I am careless and unkind”, considering himself at loss through fault of his own, ending with a sense of yearning to be with someone, yet realising the impossibility.
Now at the most fragile, the sincerity of How Weak And Unguarded The Happy Heart Is stops you in your tracks. The darkness. Inevitable. As his love continues to haunt. Struggling by in the darkness, meeting iridescent light, as hinted on the following endearing track: Coward: “Honesty must navigate one through the darker nights”. Following in sombre footsteps..doubtful..and pacing out ahead of the storm: Had What You Had. As the echoes surround, the tempo ascends; an impassioned pitch meets the rainfall, almost suffocating the narrator.
Skin-drenched, walking through the rain, we are left with the most emotive enigmatic ending; The Hardest Thing: “the absence that grows until your heart’s inundated”. Pining for his love, unable to escape the darkness and silence of it all: “I know it’ll come, but I don’t think that time is near”.
This is a heart-warming and moving record that despite the melancholy, is almost like the catharsis of crying; the feeling in being sad and happy simultaneously. A much underrated experience and record.
If you haven’t already, do take a listen to Night Songs by Benedict Benjamin.
Writer: Rachael Crabtree