Posted: August 6, 2021 in MUSIC

May be an image of Benjamin Cartel, standing, playing a musical instrument, guitar and indoor

“Some people call my music dream-pop,” says Benjamin Cartel, a journeyman songwriter who’s never been afraid to blur the boundaries between styles. “I tend to resist being a ‘genre’ artist. I just want to make the best Benjamin Cartel music.”

Benjamin’s music has taken him across much of the world, first as a member of Kaiser Cartel whose critically-acclaimed albums earned the duo a spot in the folk-pop revival of the 21st century, and later as an adventurous solo artist. “Write At Home“, his fourth solo release, marks a new chapter in his unfolding story, rolling classic pop hooks, indie sensibilities, 1960s influences, and his own brand of American roots rock into a sound that’s at once fresh and familiar.

Write At Home” is an album about departures and new arrivals. Cartel wrote the songs during a period that found him leaving New York, where his family had lived for four generations, and moving to eastern Kansas with his wife and twin toddlers. For years, he’d been creating melody-driven music informed by his observations of the world around him. Relocated to a new area, he suddenly found himself in a vastly narrowed world, spending nearly all his time in the same household. His new songs reflected that changing perspective, revolving around themes of looking inward, establishing a home base, navigating the complex relationships between parents and children, and stumbling toward self-improvement. Together, those songs formed a series of vignettes 10 little glimpses of life written by a man who relishes every little minute of it.

Write at Home, whose unique patchwork of sound — the horns and homespun acoustic guitars that punctuate “Calm Down”; the swooning steel guitar and heartland hooks that turn “Bad Ole Days” into a folk-rock anthem; the stomp-clap groove and pulsing synth-bass that give way to the lushly harmonized chorus of “Shut Inside” marks a change from Benjamin Cartel’s usual approach to the studio. At the album’s centre, though, remains his career-defining focus on melody.

Write At Home” is a record that’s both timely and timeless. An album that speaks to our modern existence yet sources its influences from vintage artists and classic sounds. For Benjamin Cartel, it’s another slice-of-life observation the latest chapter in a story that continues to unfold with each album.

Cartel offers his own thoughts on the inspiration behind the song:

A ‘Summer Flame’ is a brief candle of a relationship that burned brightly in summer and burnt out by the fall. Though romantic and exciting, you may have also had the feeling it was not meant to last for whatever reason.

You may look back with joy, fondness, and perhaps sone sadness and longing too. You can’t help it you’re only human. This time in your life comes back to you like a beautiful song that you sing to yourself to remember.

The new video for “Summer Flame” is all Jangly guitars and breezy vocals coalesce in this bittersweet power pop morsel about a fleeting relationship. Cartel showcases restraint both in the instrumentation and in his own singing, delivering simple, catchy vocals that capture the emotions of the experience he is writing about. It takes a special kind of songwriter to create music that is somehow sad yet musically bright, and that is exactly what we get with “Summer Flame.” The video, of course, does a fantastic job at providing a visual to further illustrate the music. 

thanks Glide magazine

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