Saturday, December 14, 2019

Benjamin Tod - "a Heart of Gold is Hard to Find"

The singer from the Lost Dog Street Band released this solo album which is a more stripped down effort. Tod has a honesty to his voice that sells these songs. The difference between this album and the one earlier this year aside from the more minimal arrangements is the fact the lyrics are more personal. Less story telling from the perspective of someone else. This is not the rule , but seems the direction. "Canon Fodder" uses more metaphor. This approach makes this feel more like folk than country even though his twang is till there. "Glory Bound" has it moments as far as emoting goes, but it doesn't feel as fully formed a song as the ones from the Lost Dog album. It  makes me wonder if these are left over from that album that he felt worked better for this .

These songs also feels a little shorter due to this. They are in and out with no window dressing.
"Widow Queen" takes hard look at the grieving and how it can keep someone captured in time. Tn the the most so far. "Canon Fodder"  uses some compelling lines lines like "funny how a bottle seems closer than a friend". Another song where I can listen to the lyrics and draw more from them. Perhaps not as moving as the lyrics to the song off the new Menzingers album "I Can't Stop Drinking" , but still holds it's own. "Saguaro's Flower" still keeps it real, but I am not sure it's as inspired as the previous song, but then again like many of these songs it may have to grow on me.  Lyrically these songs are touched with the grim hyper reality of their subject matter than might be a tad on the depressing side , but I am not sure I would say this is dark.

  "Any More Than I Can Carry" required another listen before I could connect to it enough to form thoughts to write about. It might need to grow on me, but works with the rest of the album while not standing out as the strongest of the songs. The title track is a little more upbeat in it's strum.  The melody sticks with you a little better than some of the songs on this album. I do not like this as much as the more emotionally compelling Lost Dog Street Band album released earlier in the year , but that set the bar higher for him. If you are a fan of his band you will also like his solo album. I will give it an 8.5.

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