Long-time musical drifter Benjamin Belinska has finally settled down with Lost Illusions. It’s relaxing. It’s upbeat. It’s indie-rock with a soul. At times it’s as good as Tom Petty, yet also evokes the low-key brilliance of Travis. Whatever illusions Belinska has lost, he’s more than filled the void with talent.
The lyrics tend to hide under the disarmingly sunny guitars but a keen ear will find all sorts of treasures. There are shades of darkness that make this an album worth chewing over. Tracks like Teddy Aubert and Mirror Lake are filled with reminiscing. Sometimes looking back is painful. Sometimes looking back is nostalgic. Sometimes it’s both.
There’s not much in the way of tunes here. No neat poppy singles. But as an album it’s constructed masterfully and simply. One track rushes into the next. Guitars give way to keyboards give way to vocals and back again. Sombre reflections give way to the low-key optimism of Moominpapa.
Wrong Place at the Wrong Time is the album in miniature: guitar jangles, complimented by the quiet warmth of Belinska’s voice. An acknowledgment that everything works out in the end, but that doesn’t really mean it’s easy. That life is full of struggle but eventually all struggles become memories. Many even become good ones.
It’s a great wee album, soaring from high to low and back again. Each listen turns the tables a little. A new melody creeps in. A fragment of a lyric, previously unnoticed, becomes a highlight. Sneaking a casual spoken word gem like Lamplight Sonata in as the penultimate track is mightily impressive. Having Don’t Turn Away as the final track doubly so. It’s a slow song, almost feeling like a remix or a B-side of everything else we’ve heard. It’s like a summary. Or a taster of the inevitable second, third and fourth listen. This is a great album I have no illusions about that, lost or otherwise.