Benjamin Folke Thomas
Intelligent and Articulate Alt. Country With a Folk Soul.
Sometimes RMHQ receive albums only days or hours before the release date; but on occasion they arrive months in advance; giving us the opportunity to give the music the time it deserves. That has been the case with COPENHAGEN by Swedish singer-songwriter Benjamin Folke Thomas.
Opening song Good Enough For Me; is splendidly wonderful! The delicate pop-melody masks a bittersweet love song; chock-full of marvelous imagery in the lyrics. If the opening line “I wish I could come down from this pedestal/Don’t know how I managed to climb an object so tall” doesn’t grab you by the heartstrings, I don’t know what will.
Benjamin is almost poetic in the way he uses and chooses words and expressions; most probably from his youth when he immersed himself in the works of Dylan, Cohen and…..Cobain!
Of course being Swedish means that there is an all pervading darkness throughout the album; but songs like Safe & Secure and Hold On break through any perceived ‘fog’ like the suns warm rays and are destined to make you sing, think and smile which is quite an achievement.
The title track Copenhagen 30/06 really does put the Alternative into Country and Folk; coming across as an intoxicating mix of Michael Nesmith, Warren Zevon and even Bap Kennedy the way he masks a sad story beneath a snappy delivery; and the images the song conjures up would make a great monochrome video.
A staccato like delivery over an electronic drumbeat coupled with a tingling pedal-steel; shouldn’t be something I would normally like, but perhaps it’s the mood I’m in, yet I really love Bad News.
Regular readers will know I do like a good love song; and while Struck Gold and Gimmee a Smile won’t ever feature on those TV advertised 40 Greatest Love Song CDs; they both touched me deeply and have been filed away for when I need a good gloomy sad love song.
On an album that treats the listener like a grown up; my very favourite song is a bit of an oddity; but only odd in the subject matter and the droll; almost Leonard Cohen way Benjamin Folke Thomas delivers it.
Finn is a song very much ‘of our time’ with the songwriter subtly very subtly comparing a 49 year old Palestinian Doctor, refugee whom he worked with in a ‘cash in hand’ job 120 years ago with his own Grandfather, Finn, who was a Communist in WWII fighting the Nazis eventually becoming a ‘refugee’ in Sweden. In the last verse Thomas sings of the sister who played him ‘Punk Rock’ and now lives in India with a child that has ‘olive skin and laughing eyes.’
You will interperate the song any way you want; but for me it really punches holes into the the sorry state of our world these days.
Benjamin Folke Thomas isn’t your ordinary singer-songwriter, his songs need to be listened to and at times are quite challenging; but the effort you put in is well worth it and repaid many, many times over as the songs crawl into your heart and soul.
RELEASED March 3rd 2017