Benjy Davis Project: Lost Souls Like Us

RIYL: Pat McGee Band, Collective Soul, Sister Hazel

Benjy Davis Project is the quintessential college band: they have a jangly jam band sound, but don’t jam a lot. Rather, front man Davis writes upbeat, melodic songs that are perfect for tapping your foot, singing along, and of course, drinking beer and partying to. BDP’s new album, their fourth, Lost Souls Like Us, is hip enough to appeal to the college frat crowd, yet has two features that make it attractive to the AAA market: Davis’ appealing tenor (which sounds a lot like Mat Kearney), and also his some lyrical depth. Witness this snippet from the opening track, “Mississippi”: “I think you’re really pretty / And that’s all I wanna say / Did you miss me/Did you miss me Mississippi / Would you kiss me if I stayed?” Of course, you can’t not appeal to the college crowd with catchy anthems like “Get High.” But Davis and company aren’t content to give you a few good songs. Sure, Lost Souls Like Us has a lot of sameness about it, but it’s a good sameness. In addition to the tracks already mentioned, other standouts are the G. Love-ish “Send Your Love Down” and “Light of Other Days,” which uses some super-cool, crunchy ‘80’s guitar tones and has some of the best harmonies on the record. If you like to have a good time, and like Southern-tinged party rock, you owe it to yourself to get familiar with Benjy Davis Project. (Rock Ridge Music 2010)

Benjy Davis Project MySpace Page


The Echo Falls: The Echo Falls

The Echo Falls is a lesson in simplicity – the debut album from this San Francisco based trio features three guys (including front man and songwriter Alex Mandel) who will remind you of both ‘70s pop (think Loggins & Messina or Seals & Crofts) and current lo-fi hipsters (think Death Cab for Cutie). Delivering songs using only an acoustic guitar, upright bass and sparse drums and percussion will do that, but the tracks themselves have an endearing vibe that is a refreshing counterpoint to what passes for adult album alternative these days. Mandel waffles between tenor and falsetto and does it with ease, and the songs range from the triumphant kickoff “Road to Parnassus” to the (you have to hear this to believe it) They Might Be Giants-meets-Suzanne Vega quirky vibe of “Watchtower.” There’s other elements at work here too; breezy college rock (“Every Second Thought” and “You Have it All”) and ‘70s folk (“Fall Asleep in the Sand”). But the best track of all is “Love Over Time,” which could be the best guitar song Ben Folds never wrote. There’s enough to please many folks on this debut – it’s not like you can vary things a whole lot with sparse production, but the Echo Falls do a pretty decent job of it. (The Echo Falls 2009)

The Echo Falls MySpace Page