There’s a lot going on right now. These days, it seems like the world is in the final seconds of an imminent explosion. When it all gets too much, sometimes it’s just nice to lay back, put your feet up and listen to some music. Coming straight out of the Netherlands, Benzo Beneluxo has released a picturesque dreamscape of laid back proportions in the form of Barkie; an atmospheric indie jaunt that’ll have you closing your eyes and relaxing before you know it.
Kicking off the five-track EP is a sultry purr from Beneluxo’s cat, to whom the record is named after, which leads into the opening song, Stories About Curly Boy Brian. The track wastes no time and immediately sets up the tone of the album; effects-drenched guitars, chirpy melodies, minimal rhythmic hits and an airy bedroom indie-pop production that makes the song feel warm and dream-like. The vocal indie crooning is welcomed, and the relaxed approach suits the music well, especially when coupled with a light sprinkling of delicious harmonies. Definitely destined to be a summer soundtrack staple. Roller Skates introduces an extremely surf-inspired lead guitar, while the rhythm provides a little more groove for the occasion. The track, sounding like a velour river, moves effortlessly through its progression to get back to the main riff. A gorgeous guitar solo and final chorus, equally as soothing as it is lush, finishes off the song before launching into the intertwined beginnings of the lead single, Come On Home.
With a more chill pop sound, Come On Home is full of catchy hooks and memorable moments. From the leading 80’s inspired guitar introduction to the fantastic falsetto, the song is restrained and relies on the twangy melodies to keep you invested in the affair, sounding akin to swimming in warm butter. The chorus motif will imprint on you, and despite telling you to come home, by this point in the record, you’re far from home, with no intention of leaving this shadowy and alluring world. A Song For Sem takes things down a notch, and sounds desperately more harrowing than the previous efforts, slowing the tempo and displaying an emotive vocal delivery. A dramatic symphony of humidity, Beneluxo’s high, soaring voice is shifted into top gear and truly a standout moment on the track, telling us that everything will be alright. Closing out the EP is the hilariously titled Would You Trust A Neighbour Called Batman?. Fresh, silky smooth guitars and moreish textures, this simple tune flows beautifully, barely evolving, keeping you locked in a trance while the narrator ponders the age-old question: would you trust your neighbour, who is called Batman, if he never went out at night?
Barkie is a seminal release for Benzo Beneluxo, and it demonstrates to the world his musical intent. The release sports spacious arrangements of liquid gold, with dreamy, chorus yielding guitars, a distinct yet held back rhythmic approach, and a falsetto voice, which lifts you, ejects you into the sky and takes you away from everything. “You’ll be alright”.