Good Day Better

On Good Day Better, Brooklyn-based band Benyaro cranks out folk country anthems brimming with harmonica, stand-up bass and powerful piano chords. At times, the songs are so dramatic you can imagine the music all taking place with actors under a spotlight during an elaborate indie rock opera. That's not necessarily a good thing: "Mother Daughter," in particular, dives a little far into the affected, sing-songy theatrical realm, making my more cynical side cringe.

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That said, it's also true that about three-quarters of the album emanates a striking, authentic grace. Singer Ben Musser studied music with North Carolina troubadour Malcolm Halcombe, and you can hear in his voice the same soulful, raspy confidence that makes Halcombe so appealing. Musser's sister, Meg Chamberlin, also sings on the album and her sweet, mischievous approach to "Put All My Money On You" makes it by far one of the album's best tracks. Lyrics on "Who Carried You" include lines about churchyards, liquor stores, clotheslines and Agatha Christie, patching together a fresh, engaging story. Other badass songs like the title track and "Dogs" make me feel like doing brave things. That's a good aspect to have on any album.

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