CD REVIEW: Benji Cossa - Between the Blue and the Green
By Chip Withrow - 09/14/2007 - 11:47 AM EDT
Artist: Benji Cossa
Album: Between the Blue and the Green
Label: Serious Business Records
Sounds Like: White Stripes' folkier tunes, Brian Wilson
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: A Rainbow, Play the Bay, Tonight
This eccentric disc has delighted and confounded me for weeks now – a joy to listen to, but defying words. It’s not quote folk, too melodic and catchy to be called experimental. I hear hints of White Stripes, Brian Wilson, and children’s nursery rhymes. Benji Cossa has crafted a wacky, beautiful, hauntingly sweet treat of an album.
The trippy “5 More Minutes Alone” lopes off the CD first, reminding me of Donovan’s ‘60s hippie folk anthems. Another cool number a similar vein comes later, the hypnotic and even more psychedelic “Streets to Streams.”
“Sunday” is country-bluesish, rambling like a Sunday drive, punctuated by slippery slide guitar and carried into another universe by Benji’s falsetto vocal. “Play the Bay” is another bluesy romp, twangy guitar-fueled and percussive – and delightfully reminding me of the kids’ song “Down By the Bay.”
“A Rainbow” is a sing-along mini-symphony, one of my favorites; the bubbling synth is just one of the nifty quirks about this one. “Sunset” is bouncy yet bittersweet, another catchy one to sing with.
The wistful, longing “Tonight,” is simply guitar and Benji’s plaintive falsetto, with crickets chirping in the background. His voice is arresting – not perfect, but perfect for his songs. The anthemic “Tomorrow” is another great vocal turn, with loads of stirring backup singing as well.
The soulful “The Show Is Over Everywhere” is a wonderful, bittersweet closing track, reminding me of the great heartwrenching numbers Richard Manuel sang with The Band.
Most of these tunes were recorded at someone’s house; that doesn’t detract at all from the recording, it just gives Between the Blue and the Green a heartfelt immediacy – a fun, friendly get-together well worth being invited to.
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