Once again, a Canadian artist has gifted the world with stirring, developed indie music. Straight out of Toronto, Steve Benjamins has a new EP, titled Sightlines, that brings a range of talents into the new summer light. Give it a listen above and follow along with me.
The first track, “Sightlines”, is the second single from the album and it emphasizes vocals — a strong choice, as Steve Benjamins’ voice is wielded as a weapon throughout the EP — while a toe-tapping beat slowly chimes in. The song is reminiscent of music boxes, and the nostalgia only grows with the inclusion of an electric guitar among synthetic beats.
The second track is beautifully titled “We Used to Live”. Everything shifts in this song. It is like no other on the EP — but that’s what an EP is for, after all; a showcase of talents. Benjamins should know, this is his third release in two years. “We Used to Live” feels a bit experimental, a bit out there compared to the rest of Sightlines, but a true hit in the contemporary sense. An alternative-nightclub track with a characterizing synth scale for hook, this song makes for an excellent — if perhaps misleading — first single.
“Devotion” returns the EP to the classic indie jam mood by evoking Fleet Foxes with piano grace and layers, and “Steamroller” proves that Steve Benjamins has a vocal and songwriting gift. He knows his strengths and uses them. But it’s in the 5th track, “Exploding Boy”, that the album peaks. Here, there is the quickness of “We Used to Live” but with the poetry that Benjamins is gifted with, (“Drag me from my room. Teach me how to breathe”), the track is darker, and you can feel your pulse quicken with the tempo. Last on the EP is “Later On”, which returns to piano-driven gentleness and allows one final look into Steve Banjamins’ world. At the very end of the song, there is a break into clarity. A sight seen at last.