Marco Benevento: Swift
With Swift, the always intrepid and imaginative Marco Benevento continues to blaze an uncompromising and continuously inspired trail with each record. The album title is both a nod to its producer Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen) and an illustrative way of describing Benevento’s steadily frenetic touring and recording pace over the last decade. On his albums with the Benevento-Russo Duo and his early solo releases, including 2010’s moody and exquisite Between the Needles and Nightfall, Benevento completely shied away from vocal music, but the keyboardist did recruit a few guest singers for 2012’s more upbeat TigerFace. With Swift’s opening track “At The Show,” Benevento finally takes a stab at lead vocals himself, and the welcomed result is an earthy and lived-in delivery—reminiscent of Michael Houser’s inviting, Sunday afternoon singing style. On the dystopic “Witches Of Ulster” and the dreamy pocket symphony “No One Is to Blame,” Benevento’s voice is cloaked in a distant-but-not-overwhelming reverb, settled deeper in the mix to magnify the track’s notably intricate production value. The most exhilarating number on the record is the instrumental “Coyote Hearing”—a confident and cerebral composition showcasing bassist Dave Dreiwitz’s vital role in Benevento’s band. Swift delivers yet another lush and wizardly textured multitude of tracks, cohesively bound by an instantly familiar and fully developed new sound.