Marco Benevento: Let It Slide
Following up his 2016 pseudo-concept album, The Story of Fred Short, keyboardist Marco Benevento has fully embraced his singing and songwriting abilities with Let It Slide . Throughout a set of nine catchy, danceable tunes, Benevento digs into the more lyrically focused work he has gradually embraced during his decade-plus solo career, while maintaining the penchant for sound experimentation that his fans have admired since his early work with the Benevento-Russo Duo. ( Let It Slide does include one instrumental and three explorative, percussive keyboard segues, all titled “Gaffiano,” named for a self-rigged prepared piano that has gaffer tape covering its strings to create a muted effect, for good musical measure.) Helping in that endeavor is producer and multi-instrumentalist Leon Michels—known for his own El Michels Affair as well as Dan Auerbach’s The Arcs—and Nick Movshon, who provides both bass and drums. (Fans of Benevento’s current live show should shouldn’t worry—regular bassist Karina Rykman adds backing vocals on several tracks.) Benevento first really connected with Michels during a quick stint subbing in for him in The Arcs in 2014, and the musicians reunited for Let It Slide when Michels moved near Benevento’s Woodstock, N.Y. home base. The new friends developed a close musical and social relationship, which even led to their children joining Rykman to form a mini-chorus on album standout “Send It on a Rocket,” a laid-back, bassline-fueled tune that nevertheless packs a punch with its lush, infectious chorus. (Benevento calls the number a “full-blown psych anthem.”) Michels also provided some guest keyboard work on the tracks—a first for a Benevento record—and generally added to an easygoing recording atmosphere that certainly comes through on Let It Slide , especially in cuts like the bouncy title track that opens the album and “Oh Baby Can’t You See,” which finds Benevento jumping up to a playful falsetto amid a quick-rhythm groove. Even if his more jam-oriented fans might balk at the poppier elements of Let It Slide , the collection stands out as possibly the strongest addition to Benevento’s already solid solo catalog.