New York City’s Benyaro play the kind of introspective, deeply emotional acoustic music that fans of the form should swoon over. The harmonies are crystalline, the playing flawless, and the songs tight. In short, it’s an impeccable recording.
For me, that’s the problem. There’s no questioning the talent here. It’s just that I got excited by their background story, how Ben Musser and Tucker Yaro met via a Craig’s List ad, recruited Musser’s sister Meg for harmonic input, honed their craft and built a following busking the NYC subway system, then self-recorded and released this, their debut record. I’m no fan of lo-fi for lo-fi’s sake, but I expected a little more grit and a lot less polish.
Other reviewers liberally apply labels like “folk” and “Americana” to the record. I wouldn’t file this CD under either category. I like my folk a little more belligerent, whether it’s Dylan plugging electric or Ani seeming as likely to give you a black eye as a bowl of soup. As for Americana, this is more Laurel Canyon than the Appalachians, a sort of Crosby, Stills and Nash minus the irascibility of Neil Young.
Benyaro frontman Ben Musser plays Sean Kelly’s Friday, August 1, at 9 PM, with Anna McGary and the Thirsty Three. Cover TBA. He also plays Liquid Planet Saturday, August 2, at 8 PM. Free.