Rich Bennett - On Holiday
Dominic Valvona 02/07/2010
Bennett's musical travelogue traverses the exotic Polynesian inspired lounge ditties of Martin Denny, and at times taps into the spirit of a Mediterranean morass Brian Wilson, whilst incorporating elements of the maligned genre of muzak.
'On Holiday' is meant to encapsulate a 24-hour vocation that begins with subtle blissful optimism and ends on an eerie bewildering note, which questions the validity of the whole experience, as though it was al a mirage or façade.
Split into two sections, the first a floating unspecified meander full of delicately well-intentioned sun-dappled melodies, the other a more resounding dejection that our central character must return once more to a humdrum existence, when his trip invariably ends.
The opening guitar twangs of 'Misty Valley' evoke sweeping vistas as seen from a moving train, with the accompanying delicate folk tones of Rebecca Pronsky pursuing every line - incidentally Bennett has produced Pronsky's solo work.
An agenda is set and bags packed, as we hop between lives back on a “home-on-the-range” type nostalgia backdrop with Back Around, to picturesque aerial glides over the Aegean in EPO.
Both Spanish and Hawaiian guitars flourish throughout, whilst clip-clopping coconuts are banged together, creating fleeting textures amongst the overriding ambience, at times involving the emotional sentimental whistling found in a Morricone score.
The first deviation from this central dreamy motif is the use of Trans Europe Express style motoring on Wild Ride, which steams along with brooding chuggering bass and caustic guitars.
A touch of Eno crossed with 90's Depeche Mode on the vocals takes our jaunt off on a tangent, adding a much-needed shake-up. Those Eno vibes continues on the Roy Budd tabla infused pleasant Peak, upbeat backing consisting Fender Rhodes and hand-claps point to a sense of resignation or even loss.
Closing track Green Memories lowers the mood even further, with a two-minute daunting outro of trepidation and mystery, clouded in almost ethereal swirls of atmospherics and melodic underlying sweeps of sorrowful serenading sounds.
Influenced in parts by The Zombies grand pastoral psychedelic opus Odessey and Oracles, Bennett has set out to produce his very own imaginative classic soundtrack to an imagined away day, one that proverbially carries more than enough baggage to keep up our interest.Unfortunately this album tends to fall way short of all its inspirational forbearers, slipping into a stupor at times and lacking any real drive.
On Holiday is well worth consideration for those who wish to indulge in fey and sophomore sounding movie themes that conjure up certain visions of escape.
Release date - 29/06/2010