REVIEW: THE BENEFIT – BRING ME THE BEACH…

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Bring Me the Beach is the first full length studio offering from up and coming funk-alternative band The Benefit. This band was brought to my attention recently, and I have to say I hear a lot of promise in these guys. The band hails from Winchester, Indiana. As an Indiana native, I can say it’s not often you hear too many great artists come from Indiana. I’d be pressed to name more than five. It’s time that this changes.
Much as the cover art suggests, this is upbeat feel-good music for a bright sunny day. The opening track “The Sound” feels like a funked-out blend of Sublime and 311 and has a far better groove going on than typical Midwest bands usually offer. “All I Need” features guest vocalist Levi Driskell, whose vocals are a smooth blend of maybe David Gray, Jamiroquai and I can’t quite pin who else I hear in there. It’s a great fit for the song. The lyrics really shine on this one for a simple upbeat love song. “Going Through My Days” is a funky ska track about being stuck in a rut in life and wanting to change. The band really gets into a good groove on this one. This is where I notice the drumming stand out a bit. Nice.
“Graffiti” has a funky reggae vibe that lands somewhere between Sublime and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ funkier moments on Blood Sugar Sex Magic. Two things that blend well. If I have one criticism to make here, it’s that in some spots the vocals are a little harsh. But then again, they remind me of some vocalists I really like, such as Mike Patton of Faith No More, so it works in context even when it’s not perfect. “Huckleberry Hipster” is a more quirky track, with a great drum and bass groove and narration style vocal. I’m picturing this is what would happen if Cake, King Missile and Better Than Ezra all jammed in a room together.
The next two tracks “Lemon & Lime” and “Avalanche” show the heavy Red Hot Chili Peppers influence on the band. But this time from pre-fame 80s RCHP. The “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” chorus of “Lemon & Lime” is pretty catchy and the solo parts are really nice, recalling a bluesy “Voodoo Chile” kind of style. “Floosie Bunk ” has a BTO meets modern alternative kind of feel and some tight playing and great harmonica. The vocals are a bit off in places on this one, but the music is really good underneath so it’s forgivable. This is followed by “Do What You Love”, which is one of the best tracks here. The lyrics are all about positivity. The band is on fire here, and this one is going to be on my sunny day playlists this summer. The Benefit saved the best for last here. “Summertime Fling” again collaborates with Levi Driskell. These guys really are a musical match. The tradeoff of hip hop flow and smooth vocals makes for an infectious track. This might be the track to break these guys big. I really hope to be hearing this blaring out of the radio months from now.
So overall, I like where these guys are heading. They have all the right influences. They are very talented at their instruments and don’t just sound like some random garage band. I want to see these guys make it big and see where they head next. We need more feelgood music like this! Their album can be found at both CDBaby and Amazon, and by clicking the album cover above.

Check out some videos from the album!

“Summertime Fling”

“The Sound”

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