Album Review: Marco Benevento, “Benevento”
Photo: Frankie Cavone
For many people, a journey of self discovery was much needed during the COVID-19 lockdown. Some used this time to look deep inside themselves and uncover who they truly are. For Marco Benevento, this journey of self discovery was turned into art. His latest studio effort, appropriately titled Benevento, was released on June 10 and contains 40 minutes of psychedelic keyboard synth music. His unique blend of psychedelia and electro music allows each and every listener to take a trip through his psyche. So, let’s dive into the record.
The album starts off with “Like Me.” A short but sweet opener, Benevento shows off his keyboard magic in a track that is reminiscent of The Doors, but with a modern feel. With a melody that feels like springtime, this track has quickly become a personal favorite of mine. The second track, “Marco & Mimo,” is the first of many songs on the album that can be described as having a jungle vibe. The track includes some vocals and a synthesizer solo about halfway through that brings the listener back to 80s new wave. I love the beat on this song, as well as how experimental this particular track is.
“At the End or the Beginning” begins with a delicious bass line, and leads into more keyboard wizardry. The opening lyrics, “We can walk and keep our distance / The whole world changed in an instant” may read as a direct reference to the COVID-19 lockdown. Benevento’s style of singing pairs well with the synthesizer. The lyrics continue to be the focal point of this song, as they allow you to visualize what is happening “Golden sun through the blinds / Touches your face with light.” I love how the outro of this song sounds, making the listener feel as though they are being levitated into the air and rising above the clouds.
Marco Benevento’s storytelling strengthens with “We Were Here,” which “At the End or the Beginning” leads directly into. This transition is reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe (In The Air)” into “On The Run,” especially because the instrumentals in “We Were Here” sound similar to the footsteps heard in “On The Run.” The vocal effects in this song have a lucid quality to them, and the bridge takes the listener even higher, complete with a transcendental synthesizer solo that feels like being transported into outer space.
The lyrics in Benevento’s songs are often poetic, which is something not commonly heard in electronic music. This is a strong point in “Winter Rose.” Another one of Benevento’s strengths are the songs’ outros. Each song’s outro is different. Whether it contains a solo, an eclectic mix of instruments or a variety of different drums, every outro perfectly melts into the next song.
My personal favorite track is “Do You Want Some Magic,” where Benevento’s creativity shines the most. With swooshing sounds throughout, the music sounds like a flying carpet taking off. This is another track that is reminiscent of Pink Floyd, but this time, the similarities lie in the background thrills from “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2.” Every instrument shines on this particular track, with my favorite drums on the album appearing on this song, as well as Benevento’s remarkable piano playing.
The closing track, “Is This A Dream” truly sounds like a dream. With a drum that almost sounds like a heart beating, the song feels like a passage of time. As the intro prepares the listener for takeoff, the song is sent in a more minimalistic direction until the chorus bursts its colors. As mentioned before, Benevento’s outros are what stand out the most on this record, and “Is This A Dream” does not disappoint. The outro showcases panning vocals, adding a new flavor to the album even in its final moments.
Many incredible musical accomplishments have come out of the small town of Woodstock, N.Y., and Benevento has rightfully earned a place on this list. In addition to creating a psychedelic, keyboard-heavy record where he plays nearly all of the instruments, Marco Benevento also produced and engineered the record from his home studio. Be sure to check out this multi-talented musician on all streaming platforms.
Key tracks: Like Me / Marco & Mimo / At the End or the Beginning
Listen to Benevento
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