Catalog #: AHE-10
Release date: 2010
1. The Unknown Keys
3. The Kindling
5. The Boat of a Million Years
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AHE-10 MAN BENU – The Kindling – LP: $13
The Kindling is a 6 song cycle that’s epic in scope but casual in execution; the songs sound as if built from monumental foundations, yet are played with such languid ease that one feels the rise and fall of the ocean with every turn of phrase and stroke of the guitar. The music that the primary trio of Bentley Anderson, Taylor Davis, and Brady Sansone compose is steeped in the post-rock sounds of 90’s guitar bands like Come or modern day Sonic Youth acolytes Tall Firs, with their wandering guitar passages that tunnel and spiral rather than pummel and rock. Brady Sansone (also a member of improv-doomers Heavy Winged) compliments Bentley’s de-tuned guitar patterns with long slides of the lap steel and textural feedback that provide a lysergic vibe to many of the key songs. Drummer Taylor Davis moves the band with an effortless swing. His syncopated marches and swelling cymbal washes help maintain the fluidity of movement in the music, as well as frame the eerie drones that Bentley and Brady pull from their instruments. The grayscale hues that the band favor in tandem with the spacious sound of the music conjures images of winter skies over tumultuous seas and panoramas of breathtaking landscapes. Bentley’s songs are meditations in melancholy, recalling the spirit of pysch-folk pioneers Fairport Convention and the guitar prowess of Six Organs of Admittance’s Ben Chasny. There is an austere calmness in his voice that can be warm and smokey or cold and visceral, and though it is teeming with emotion it never strays into melodrama. In the classical sense the songs that make up The Kindling are sections to a greater whole, as the album feels and moves like a single piece.
-LP comes with download card.
“Good songs with motion and melancholy in focus…”
-Doug Mosurock (Dusted Magazine/ Still Single)
“impressive in building a discordant tension not far from early Blonde Redhead territory – elegiac yet brooding, threatening”
“And then it´s time for something new. Presenting Man Benu, an adventurous trio from Brooklyn operating somewhere in the no man´s land between Sonic Youth and Fairport Convention… Give these guys a try, well worth your time.”
-For The Sake of the Song
“It’s not easy to sound this simultaneously weathered and youthful; how the hell do Man Benu do it? The Kindling (All Hands Electric) is, above all, a branching-out of the classic Sonic Youth sound, mixed with a lil’ Ex Lion Tamer. You don’t get too many of the build-ups, explosions or guitar-drilling, but that clean guitar-with-the-edges-sanded-off feel, coupled with matching vocals, is here in spades. Think of “Rain on Tin” stripped of most of its louder moments (or, for that matter, Murray Street) and expanded downward, or sideways, rather than upward. Big-time drowsiness causes Bentley Anderson, Brady Sansone and Taylor Davis to have that codeine crawl about them, that lurch where you wonder how they survive in NYC with all the fracas. Wonderful drumming from a guy who probably played in a few math-y bands back in the day, then progressed to the point where he didn’t need to prove anything any more. Oh, and that lack of “build-ups” and “explosions”? Not exACTly true, folks; The Kindling blows up like a balloon, pumps like a piston and pops like a tart, the rhythms suddenly turning a bit vicious and the guitars fluttering, then flopping. Man Benu obviously have some influences to work through; don’t give up on them, though, as this will be an interesting band to watch, all three of its members blessed with distinct individual talents.”
-Grant Purdum (SINGAL TO NOISE – Issue #49)