Craig Bennett

Sweet and Twisted

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Picking up where he left off with his debut, Craig Bennett is still tuned into coolly textured singer/songwriter pop, underpinning his songs with drama and picturesque poetics. Drawing comparisons to Destroyer's Dan Bejar, both for his ability to stretch single syllables into two or three as much as his occasionally acerbic wit, Bennett lines his songs with odd references and cleverly detailed narratives that unravel unpredictably through his uniquely elastic arrangements. Also like Bejar, Bennett has the ability to eerily evoke classic era Bowie, while exuding an almost mocking self-possession. With smooth, flowing arrangements, some approaching a somewhat prog-ish complexity and others almost adopting R&B-like tones, the album suggests a dreaminess with the blending and pairing of textures, yet snaps the listener back into Bennett's story world with the evocative and blunt nature of the songwriting. Delivered with a disquieting matter-of-factness, Bennett spins lines like "I once threw a snowball and nearly broke her jaw/We took a short walk through a tall city" and never allows the listener to be in any way sure what direction his narratives may take. Gorgeously sweet melodies are paired with downright nasty sentiments, as narrators of tracks like "Good Listener" spout vitriol at both themselves and their protagonists. Overall, an album born of unique vision and voice that more than lives up to its title.

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