Steve Benjamins - 'Sightlines'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

On May 15, independent musician and songwriter Steve Benjamins will be releasing his junior effort, ‘Sightlines.’ The EP is a follow-up to ‘Disorientation Man,’ his well-received 2013 collection of songs. ‘Sightlines’ is an atmospheric, high-octane endeavor seeking to harness the power of the upbeat indie-rock appeal. For the most part, Benjamins succeeds on nearly every count. Let’s dig into ‘Sightlines.’

The single for the album is ‘We Used to Live,’ a track perfect for your summer playlist this year. It’s sharply produced with a heavy-hitting chorus that’ll be right at home on that old boombox you bring with you to the beach. Unlike most records, though, the single is not the best of this offering.

I love the title track of this record on quite a few different levels. Musically, it’s charming and captivating. Vocally and lyrically, it’s equally as gripping. Benjamin is an excellent lyricist, something that may get a bit lost on listeners if they only tune in to his single. The title track is the most gorgeous song of the bunch.

There are other songs that give it a run for its money, though. Benjamins harmonizes with himself beautifully on ‘Devotion.’ He’s really quite a great singer. His perfectly soft croons on songs like ‘Steamroller’ can send the listener into a dream-state. He’s mastered the soft ballad elegantly.

There’s two very different sides of Benjamins on this record. One side ponders through his emotions delicately with impeccable harmonies and silky smooth soundscapes. The other side is a bit EDM-tinged, erupting on tracks like ‘Exploding Boy’ and ‘We Used to Live.’ That keeps this EP continually worthwhile, though, so that’s a good thing. As much as I love the title track, six songs of it would be a monotonous affair.

While ‘Sightlines’ isn’t anything spectacularly new, it is spectacularly good. You’ve heard all of these sounds before, but Benjamins presents them in a way that is unforgettable. It seems like the late springtime has a tendency to breed these excellent summer jams. ‘Sightlines’ will be among the best of those.