by Nathan Cardiff
John Benda starts his sophomore solo release with the moody “Passive Voice vs. Active Voice” and you can instantly feel the change from 2013’s Time & Tide. Benda hasn’t lost his indie folk soul on None Of The Color, but like all good singer/songwriters he’s pushing forward to expand his sound and style. The quiet screech that hums behind the soft strum of the guitar adds a haunting quality to the lead track. And when it fades, Benda’s voice layers over itself letting his lyrics resonate all the more; “Our active and passive voices/seem different than ever before…”
We get a more familiar Benda style on the single “Sunflower” (released late last year). Still a cloud of melancholy hangs over his strong vocals and quiet guitar. A beautiful track that broods like a thunderstorm gathering over a field of the flowers. Personally, the tracks that resonate the most with this writer are the back to back “Life Before Anesthetic” and “No Choice.” The former lets Benda’s vocals twist and turn over the soft tempo, while the latter features his falsetto verse float through a sparse soundscape. Gorgeous work.
“Keys” kicks us into high gear with its rootsy rock and features some subtle piano to back the electric guitar. It brings side one of None Of The Color to an Americana ending and a great transition to the equally eclectic side two. Benda keeps the tempo up on “Where It Leads” and he begins to cool things down with “State Of Intrigue.” Then we get flattened by the extraordinary “Fight Of My Life.” Spacey and dreamy, it begins with a drum machine and very quiet bass guitar. His vocals echo in the abyss and the song wraps you in the darkness. None Of The Color closes with the light guitar work of “Silhouette” and the circling rhythm of “Running Of The Bulls.” Benda repeats “If you wait for me (if you wait for me)/I’ll find you.” You’d be a fool not to. Over ten magnificent tracks he’s certainly convinced us of that.
Favorite Tracks: “Life Before Anesthetic,” “No Choice,” & “Fight Of My Life”
by Nathan Cardiff