Craig Bennett

Happy Hollowdays

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    8
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Reviving the sounds of British singer/songwriters from David Bowie to Morrisey, Craig Bennett gives little impression that he actually hails from Macon, GA. As his songs are saturated in a melancholy aesthetic, alternately quirky and cranky, Bennett employs a sly and somewhat obscure wit. His orchestration is generally rather stark, with guitars and keyboards mixing with the occasional cello or horn to create an appropriate sonic backdrop for his coolly detached musings. When at his best, it's possible to hear a little Nick Drake in the soaring pop progression of "Wandering Ways," which boasts choruses that approach a similar melodic elegance. Bennett's voice, however, is clearly evocative of Bowie. Tracks like "Soviet Tanker" and "Strange Machine" find Bennett using cleverly sarcastic reflections to mediate cascading synths that drive arrangements occasionally running a little too long for the average pop tune. Though not startlingly unique, Bennett does well to present his most marketable traits. When his words sometimes fall out of meter, it generally enhances the nonchalant tone of his delivery; where his words are evasive, they allow listeners to find their own implications. That said, Happy Hollowdays is a fully realized effort.

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