World-traveled, hipster-bearded Austrian with twinkle in his eye builds alt-pop with a wink. Okay, if you don’t already have a crush on Bensh, you’re a cold, cold soul. Although Benjamin-Zsolt Zombori was born in Innsbruck, since 2004 he’s has traveled and lived all around the world, picking up musical bits and bobbins in each place. After years of musical work, for The Strokes in London, and for Sigur Ros in Reykjavik for example, he put his heart into a debut album that sings, gently.
Called Clues, the record is a valuable, all-inclusive hodgepodge of the finest ’60s and ’90s pop. He’s clearly influenced by Beck and the Beatles, and sounds quite a bit like French chamber pop up-and-comers Revolver. But the heartbreak that Bensh sings about is sui generis. Who else would say: “Do you f*** for a quick buck or mostly just for fun?/Jesus you work like the rent is due tonight.” Acid lines like this, crossed with organ-riddled psych rock and Americana chamber pop, equals sweet but sharp delight.
Bensh and his band have spent the last year and a half playing dates in Europe, the UK, and North America. There’s more to come: Clues will be gracing the United States and Canada in 2012, bringing Bensh’s brand of inside-out twee pop across the Atlantic. Hearts are sure to flutter and sting.
Photo by Charlotte Krauss