Graham Reid | | <1 min read
The charming and slightly eccentric art music of Benson will be familiar to longtime Elsewhere people: his previous EPs have been posted here -- and now comes the long-anticipated debut album.
The former chorister indulges himself in some oddly appealing Elizabethan language as much as in sometimes gorgeous arrangements for voice, harpsichord, strings, harp and some traditional Maori instruments to make for an album rich in quirky lyrics (titles include Asthma, It's Akaroa's Fault, Lingeress) and suffused in a religious spirit, personal imagery and a lovely childlike spirit.
It can also be read as a song cycle about the South Island of his childhood, and the fears and delights which preoccupied him.
So this is extremely sophisticated but also comes off as unusual and naive, a little like The Famous Five in the spoken word section of the seductive closer.
Dudley Benson is unique in the New Zealand musical landscape -- and here is persuasive evidence that he is also important.