Our man on the UK music scene, Greg Smyth, is back. Check out his homeland at Swing Batter Batter!
It doesn't hurt to be best mates with The White Stripes' Jack White. But don't leap to the erroneous conclusion that Brendan Benson is yet another dodgy garage rock veteran from Detroit because The Alternative To Love is a fantastic shimmering pop album that ripples with emotion.
Opener Spit It Out is prime 70s radio, evoking the likes of The Knack, with the kind of bombastic hip-shaking chorus that makes you long for long hot days and pool parties. It may be a disappointingly dreary spring in the real world but for Benson it's perennially summer. The Pledge is the finest stab at an alt-rock Be My Baby since Phil Spector threatened to shoot one of The Ramones and probably the closest thing we'll hear thanks to his current legal problems. Sure, there are downbeat moments, albeit served with a slick production sheen that on occasions sails comes close to overwhelming the material but for the most part it's the aural equivalent of having your brain smashed in with a slice of lemon.
The Alternative To Love is a stunning blast of sunshine to pierce through the drabbest of days; a hip blend of candy-floss and sparkling wit. It doesn't hurt being Brendan Benson's best mate; Jack White should know.