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My Old, Familiar Friend


Price: £7.79
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£7.79 Only 1 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by davidmorpurgo.

Amazon's Brendan Benson Store

Music

Image of album by Brendan Benson

Photos

Image of Brendan Benson

Biography

Brendan Benson — What Kind of World (Readymade Records)

As much as the story behind Brendan Benson’s fifth solo album is the story of making a record, it is also a story of finding a family — of love, marriage, the birth of a son, and of another kind of family too: one made up of all of the musicians, music-lovers and friends, who have helped to make these songs and ... Read more in Amazon's Brendan Benson Store

Visit Amazon's Brendan Benson Store
for 19 albums, 6 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

My Old, Familiar Friend + The Alternative To Love + Lapalco
Price For All Three: £27.40

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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 Aug. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: V2
  • ASIN: B002CKWQIA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,234 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. A Whole Lot Better
2. Eyes On The Horizon
3. Garbage Day
4. Gonowhere
5. Feel Like Taking You Home
6. You Make A Fool Out Of Me
7. Poised And Ready
8. Don't Wanna Talk
9. Misery
10. Lesson Learned
11. Borrow

Product Description

BBC Review

The chilly shadow that comes with being Jack White’s best mate will always be met by dismissive sneers in some quarters – but it does have its merits.

Three solo albums of well-crafted garage pop saw Benson plod steadily into respected obscurity before he was summoned to join the White Stripes man’s latest rock'n'roll plaything, The Raconteurs. Hard-riffing Led Zeppelin fantasies now fulfilled, the Michigan singer-songwriter returns to the day job as a wistful troubadour of bitter sweet 60s heartbreak, and with mixed results.

This time the mild air of DIY scuzz drowns in a sea of lush, crisp production as an unashamedly opulent search for surf-rock perfection begins. Rich harmonies collide, glistening guitar tones crunch and jangle and dreamy romances are blown up into grand, kitchen-sink operas. Sadly, though, the drift from retro Teenage Fanclub melodies into a pedestrian middle-of-the-road chug sucks the life out of the great moments of flippant power-pop. As drab, wallowing balladry and drudging rhythms take hold, even Benson himself seems bored by the aptly titled Beatles dirge Gonowhere.

With Benson neither a melancholy dreamer like Elliott Smith, nor a jaunty genius like Edwyn Collins, My Old, Familiar Friend is bereft of a distinct personality that you can love, hate or even barely notice. What he does have in abundance, however, is a sharp ear, a head full of hooks and a hefty supply of killer one-liners that baffle, charm and touch. “If she throws her heart away / I’ll be there on garbage day / To sift through what’s left, I guess / To sort through the loneliness" is particularly telling.

Striking the perfect marriage between the thundering grime of his Detroit past and his love of soaring, head-bobbing infectiousness, Poised and Ready triumphs as a rush of snarling fuzz, delivered with a sugar-coated glaze. The raucous, rumbling sprawl of Borrow should please Raconteurs fans, while Eyes on the Horizon probably has the best chance of charming radio’s tastemakers.

All told, this is a noble attempt to merge spiky, unassuming indie into joyous vintage pop; but Benson shouldn’t lose White’s phone number just yet. --Colin Irwin

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy Sweeney TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Nov. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Listening to "My Old, Familiar Friend" really is like listening to an old, familiar friend. With this album, Brendan Benson has delivered a fresh slice of power-pop which has echoes of Todd Rundgren, Big Star, Paul McCartney & Wings, ELO and many other giants of the seventies whilst still retaining the individuality of the work In fact, you can listen to this album and hear exactly what Benson offers to the excellent Raconteurs, such is his personal mark. Take, for example, the circa-1979 Elvis Costello and The Attractions opener "A Whole Lot Better" and you'd struggle to find fault with a single note - it's just a joyous experience from start to finish, as is the entire album.

Highlights for me, apart from the fantastic opening track, are the pop-paranoia of "Eyes On The Horizon", the strings-embellished "Garbage Day", the typically brilliant Benson chord-shifts of "Gonowhere", the delicate, heartbreaking "You Make A Fool Out Of Me", the superb, rousing indie power-pop of "Poised and Ready" and the album closer, "Borrow", the Big Star-like "Misery" and the gorgeously sombre "Lessons Learned". On the whole, it's pretty much a fantastically textured album packed full of highlights - there's simply not a bad track on this great collection of well-crafted, beautifully performed songs.

Many reviews I've read so far have compared this album to Benson's back catalogue - some favourably, others not so much. However, if you can bring yourself to forget anything Brendan has released before and listen to this as a new album by a new artist, even the doubters would probably have to admit just how excellent this piece of work is. If this was a debut, I have no doubt that people would be salivating over its greatness. The influences are obvious, but it's not derivative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rhiannon on 7 Oct. 2009
Format: Audio CD
I feel this review is going to be carping and contradictory as it's going to criticise Benson for ( a) playing safe and doing more of the same and ( b) trying something new and failing(Garbage Day, what the hell was he thinking? That should never have seen the light of day, especially as gems such as Open Your Eyes didn't make it.Can only hope it's being held back for a third Raconteurs' album)

I'm still giving it 4 stars as I doubt it would be possible for Brendan in any project to fall below good/very good but the quibbles are ,it's weak in comparison to Lapalco and Alternative to Love ,certainly justifies its title and perhaps some new friends might have been considered.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark N. Tempest on 27 Oct. 2009
Format: Audio CD
From the opening song to the last,this album doesn't dissapoint.There is nothing new or different about these songs,but is clever lyrics coupled with damn fine tunes with subtle key changes make for a catchy and fulfilling album.
The more upbeat numbers are instantly likeable, whereas the slower ones creep up on you slowly and then become the ones you cant stop humming.
Simply it is a classic.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Williams on 11 Sept. 2009
Format: Audio CD
Brendan Benson writes great pop songs with catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics, but since he has so many other projects on the go, his own solo albums seem to appear at four year intervals. It's a long time in music, enough for some bands to play out their entire careers. Fans have patiently waited while Benson palled around with the Raconteurs, and now their patience has been rewarded. My Old Familiar Friend is just what you'd expect from such a title: a new but instantly familiar collection of what Benson does best.

That timeless sound remains, apparently the result of obsessively recording on the oldest possible equipment. There are big tunes and harmonies, little touches of organ and synth, all played by Benson. It starts strong with A Whole Lot Better and Eyes on the Horizon, before bringing out the strings for Garbage Day. You Make a Fool Out of Me is a pretty acoustic lament, Feel Like Taking You Home simmers, Poised and Ready stomps, and if you can't say what you need to in three and half minutes, it isn't worth saying.

My Old Familiar friend wraps up in the blustery outro of Borrow, its 11 tracks over without a minute wasted. Let's hope Benson isn't away for quite so long this time.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Keek on 25 Sept. 2009
Format: Audio CD
Probally one of his worst albums(I like the other ones very much), but still quite good.
After waiting so long for new solowork i expected some more.

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I still like it and play it once a week. Have to change it and give it 5 stars.
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