Steve Benjamins’ new album entitled “Sightlines” is set to be released on May 15th. This will be Benjamins’ third EP in just over two years and is the follow up to 2013’s “Disorientation Man”. Benjamins has a voice best lent to mainstream pop music. His voice is interesting, not distinctive, but interesting. His music, however leans more toward electronica and the juxtaposition just doesn’t work for this reviewer. Benjamins seems to suffer from the same ailment befalling many an indie artist. The songs begin and there seems to be a hesitancy to get to it. I call it musings instead of music. To clarify, Benjamins’ new EP is not all bad. There is something there. Something intangible but not fully formed. The two tracks on the EP of particular note are ‘We Used To Live’, the first single off the EP and a song called ‘Later On’. Both tracks exhibit a songwriter in his prime with a fully formed work of art. The rest of the songs on the EP are a little rambling and not a coherent whole.
I almost get the sense that Benjamins is working against type. He knows what he should be and where he is best suited but someone or something is tugging at him telling him that there is no commercial potential in what he really is. The first rule of being an artist, Mr. Benjamins, is be true to yourself. Artistic expression depends on sincerity and it is something you cannot fake. Only an artist of rare talent can transcend themselves and find success in any genre. Jimi Hendrix would have been a star covering nursery rhymes but those artists come once in a generation, if we’re lucky.
The music business is littered with artists these days, some better than others but without a true and unflinching belief in yourself and what you are about, success will always be just around the next corner. Benjamins’ new EP makes me want to hear more from this artist but doesn’t make me want to rush out and buy this one. All in all, I hear a lot of potential but very little of it realized on this effort.
Uncle Duke; a.k.a. Rob Penland is the producer and host of "The Mad Music Asylum" a 4 hour weekly syndicated radio show and now a 24 hour streaming internet station.