Morning Stanzas

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Those who like their bands British will be thrilled when first exposed to Benzos. They may be a little disappointed, however, to find that the group is actually from New York, despite their whimpering vocals having a resemblance to Radiohead or Travis. At times, like in the majestic "Glass Souls," one can't help thinking it's a tribute, but the band certainly isn't copping anyone. Not as electronically leaning as the instrument lineup (or critics) would have you believe, Benzos (named for benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety medications) is essentially a rock band. There is indeed some programming, but Morning Stanzas is mainly guitar-driven, and those guitars can do more than fill a room. "Ideal Magnet" showcases pretty, high-ranging vocals and "Spins," with an ominous guitar hook not unlike the intro to Metallica's "One," exemplifies Benzos' darker side. While those aspects help make Morning Stanzas full of textures and sincerity, the album doesn't make the lasting impression it needs to achieve. Rather, it's all on the same note, and when it ends, you're left wishing they could have done just a little more with what they've learned by spending hours with drum'n'bass and jazz records.

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