EP REVIEW: Brooke Bentham - Caring
Familiar-sounding upbeat songs lifted by Bentham's unique warmth
Brooke Bentham (image copyright: Kat Green)
Caring - the EP being released this Friday (17 March) - makes you question why Brooke Bentham isn’t more revered than she already is.
Hailing from South Shields, a stone’s throw away from North Shields-born Sam Fender, Bentham lurks in the shadows of Fender’s substantially greater following and fame, but talent-wise, it feels like the gap shouldn’t be so wide.
Bentham’s dreamy, understated vocals accompany warm indie rock in much the same way as Lucy Dacus and Soccer Mommy.
Following her critically acclaimed debut album, Everyday Nothing, released a month before the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, it’s somewhat surprising that three years later, there’s no long player follow-up but, in Caring, all four songs shine reminding you what a talent Bentham is.
Beginning with the first single off the EP, ‘Over and Over’ features laidback guitar over a stomping drum beat and nostalgic lyrics about spending time with a lover. A strong, repetitive chorus builds to an epic crescendo by way of a trumpet joining the action halfway in, in not too dissimilar way that Bears Den incorporate brass instruments to add further layers to the composition.
‘Almost Heaven’ follows with its sweet softly sung verses building to a soaring chorus boosted by searing electric guitar in subsequent repetitions. Third track ‘Let Go’ is the current single with an inviting acoustic guitar intro with clearly sung lyrics building to a full band effort chronicling the end of a relationship.
Final track, ‘Stop’, features an upbeat drum and rhythm guitar with emotive lead guitar soundscapes paving the way for another strong chorus.
All the tracks concern relationships, with a tinge of sadness running through the descriptive lyrics which, more often than not, look back with a bittersweet outlook. Despite the sadness, there’s a warmth and philosophical pragmatism in the songs which suggests a strength in Bentham’s character.
Overall, the EP has an intimacy not unlike a friend sharing their true feelings on their relationships over a coffee. The musical output is upbeat and familiar, but there’s a unique warmth to the songs. The only disappointment is that it’s over after four songs and 15 minutes. Roll on album number two…