Benevolent & Divine – Hyacinth

In his new single, titled “Hyacinth,” songwriter Branden Andrade – as Benevolent & Divine – looks at life as learned through the lens of a musician who puts a lot of stock and value on tone, and while this is only the first look that many have collectively had at his unique style of play, it’s a formidable summer offering for alternative rock fans both casual and serious alike. Through buoyant beats and a supple melody that grows all the more sterling with every verse, “Hyacinth” does everything that its title would imply it should inside of a simple jam.

Guitar grooves are as expressive as the words that Benevolent & Divine sings to us in this track, and though the string parts bear a sonic resemblance to a classic rock sound, I wouldn’t describe them as being overly retro in the least. The timbre of Andrade’s vocal complements the beefy tonality of the riffs and were either component deprived of the elegant finish that they received in the mastering process here, they probably wouldn’t be as hypnotic as they are in this well-appointed mix. This single seems to be the product of precise handiwork behind the soundboard, which isn’t always the case in underground material.

The textures that the melody produces are muscular for an alternative rock composition like this one, but they’re not quite as overindulgent as some of the similarly stylized recordings I’ve heard lately have been. If Benevolent & Divine’s goal was to stimulate us with every aspect of this song, he did a pretty good job of assembling “Hyacinth” to do just what he had hoped it would – when his lyrics are lashing us with their cathartic conveyances, the instrumentation is filling the air with just as much evocative passion certain to stoke a reaction out of anyone who happens to be listening.

Andrade’s vocal is the most surreal layer of this mix, and more often than not, it’s a beacon of optimism amid the darkness that the descending harmonies create as we exit the chorus. His execution is incredible, his confidence is infectious, and even when the song is throwing him difficult ridges that most singers would struggle in grappling with he never flinches for a moment. After hearing how skilled he is in this effort, one has to wonder how good he’ll be after getting an album filled with this kind of content under his belt.

If “Hyacinth” is just a sampling of what’s to come next from the Benevolent & Divine camp, you can sign me up for more from this talented singer/songwriter. There aren’t a lot of old-fashioned storytellers of this strain actively recording and playing gigs these days and provided Andrade continues to make music on par with what he has here, he’s going to find himself quite the sizeable audience of audiophiles who have been hungry for an artist of his kind for a long time now. I’ll be keeping an eye on his progress, and I’d tell anyone who cares about modern melodicism to do the same.

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