Release Date: Jul 22, 2008
Record label: New West
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Singer-Songwriter
A boozeblasted and chunky double LP of sly, crooned come-ons drifting above music that pinballs wildly from dirty folk to playful blues, A Love Extreme finds Benji Hughes’ laconic drawl and hotpants genre splits reminding you of a time when Beck was tossing off spinning, funk-sweat classics like Midnite Vultures with a freewheeling and smirky ease. From the skipping and headbobbed lilt of the skeletal crunch of “Tight Tee Shirt” to the falsetto psuedo-soul of “You Stood Me Up” to the strange electromash of noise, beats and laments that is “Even If,” Hughes’ greatest gift is that while he might remind you Mr. Hanson, he doesn’t make you miss him, either.
From the Coltrane-spoofing title to the mix of oddball pop/rock and poignant, lovesick torch songs, A Love Extreme is -- to put it lightly -- an unconventional debut album. Benji Hughes pulls precious few punches, sandwiching 25 songs onto two discs and gracing the cover with his intensely bearded face. While not exactly new to the music biz (Hughes co-wrote the provocative "Let's Duet" for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story in 2007, and folk songbird Priscilla Ahn covered his song "Masters of China" on her first album), Hughes is still a newcomer to the recording studio, and he attacks his debut with the professionalism of a veteran songwriter and the "I wanna do everything!" eagerness of Charlie Bucket in Willie Wonka's factory.
Benji Hughes actually has the cojones to release a double-disc debut. On that album, entitled A Love Extreme, Hughes explores the virtually untapped arena of love and relationships. Or rather, Hughes examines the feelings the love brings. He charts love’s ups, downs, insignificant subtleties, and hackneyed scenarios, from one extreme to the next, through 25 apparently-necessarily-included tracks.