Album Reviews

Marco Benevento – Swift (Royal Potato Family)

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Marco Benevento SwiftMarco Benevento may not be known to the world at large, but among jazz aficionados, particularly those who frequent New York’s experimental scene, he’s gained a rapidly growing reputation for bending the boundaries between traditional jazz, electronica, and trance. And while his music doesn’t fit any one of those particular genres alone, the aural tapestry he creates manages to incorporate elements of each.

The unifying factor in Benevento’s latest LP is found in the grooves, a steady, infectious pulse that sweeps listeners along and keeps them enticed throughout. The melodies stay on the simple side, and the chanting that accompanies them – either by Benevento himself or in company of a massed chorus – add a sense of communal inclusion. Whether it’s the bubbling spark and shimmer of “If I Get To See You At All,” the funk and repetition of “At the Show,” or the anthemic swell of “Eye To Eye,” there’s a fairly consistent bounce in this bunch throughout. Benevento, whose resume also includes backing stints for the likes of AC Newman, Aaron Freeman and Rich Robinson (he also contributed to a pair of recent high-profile tribute discs – This Is The Town: A Tribute To Harry Nilsson, Volume 1 and Bob Dylan In The 80s), plays the role of a giddy cheerleader, and if the songs seem somewhat cluttered by all the effects, he more than compensates through sheer effort and enthusiasm.

Ultimately, Swift could be considered a kind of guilty pleasure, a set of songs that might otherwise get dismissed if they weren’t so playful and punchy to begin with. Consider it for your next party’s playlist.

– Lee Zimmerman

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