At a time when pop is usually associated with snot-nosed punks, vapid stadium-rock drones and singers who don't even write their own material, it's about time that we get a refreshing blast from the past.
Brendan Benson sounds like he came straight out of the pop rock spectrum of the '60s and '70s on Lapalco. It's not a far cry to say that, at some points, he sounds positively Beatle-esque.
Benson's music slightly resembles that of the Fab Four and other classic rock bands -- he sings short, lively songs about girlfriends, alienation and down-on-luck living.
The old-school ties are noticeable. In the early stages of "You're Quiet," he coos like Roger Daltrey did on some of The Who's early material. Benson himself seems like a Todd Rundgren for the new generation, a master of pop who isn't as acknowledged as less-deserving artists.
While Lennon, McCartney and the other legends have survived the test of time, Benson has gone relatively unnoticed by everyone save for a small but passionate fan base. Benson's debut, 1996's One Mississippi, was generally praised by critics but failed to get much of a commercial response. The less-than-enthusiastic reception nearly derailed the singer's career.
It took him a while to muster a second effort to capture the ear of America. But Lapalco is a great album, capable of gaining the type of recognition that he should receive.