Published October 7, 2005
Benni Hemm Hemm plays chords on an acoustic guitar, and has an enormous brass band, a Led Zeppelin-inspired drummer, and a solid bassist essentially echoing him. The result, as Benni repeats a chord structure and the music layers, is an energetic feel-good take on folk. No particular melodies or chord progressions stand out, at the key is in the repetition. And unlike the Flaming Lips, who used a similar format in Soft Bulletin, Benni’s lyrics aren’t entirely poignant, and his voice, while solid, isn’t all that evocative. Often, you wait for the trumpet and full band, and often this is worth the wait. However, when Benni delivers silly or cynical lyrics, he really shines, as on the song I Can Love You in a Wheelchair, Baby. This album is complete and engaging, and if not every melody or lyric sticks in your head on the initial listen, worry not—you’ll be listening to it so much, that every word will lodge in there.