Craig Bennett – Sweet and Twisted

Craig Bennett
Sweet and Twisted

This is the third Craig Bennett album we’ve been lucky enough to get our grubby little hands on here at DOA, and as you would hope with any musician, his music just keeps getting better as he hones his talents. This album seems aptly named. Bennett’s brand of textured, timeless pop is just as pristine and lovely as ever, and he still makes wry twists of phrase, subtle but fitting.
As mentioned in reviewing Bennett’s previous releases (handily posted below for your viewing pleasure), Bennett has the kind of mid-80s British singer/songwriter voice that resonates with you, and along with his light, charming melancholy pop, his sound has the feel of drawing from the past four decades without feeling retro at all. As always, his voice takes the lead on these songs, but if anything the music on Sick and Twisted is even better, more mature and confident than ever before and providing the perfect textured accompaniment.
On the lovely textured “Fur Cap,” Bennett opens the album by painting a vivid picture of life and relationships in the city. He sings playfully, “Sharing a bath with her and that fur cap / Yeah, the one with the ear flaps / that’s all she was wearing and it was winter…” The soft piano adds the perfect mood to the sad beginning of “Toy Box,” which erupts into a bouncy romp. On “The Eastener,” Bennett continues the story of a relationship, now travelling and the items encountered on the trip in a light, sweet song. “Nancy” is especially pretty, with very cool effects to his guitar and light piano that lend a bit of moodiness to the song, as he sings “Oh Nancy, we’re the same, you and I, we both have the same strange nagging urge to survive.” The rather lengthy and flowing “The Westerner” provides a complement to the former track, apparently marking the return trip.
At times, Bennett can get a bit esoteric. The opening to “Man, She’s Really Changed” is an almost trippy affair at times, with bits of guitar and atmospheric keyboards mingling, a theme that carries through the rest of the song. The closer, “Campus Cutie” showcases this sound as well, a rambling song that has whistles, guitar, multiple voices, and more, despite its basic pop structure.
Even in his most playful moments, Bennett has a bit of a twist, either in the unique layering of his music, some textured keyboards and guitar, or more likely in his lyrics. There is always a storytelling aspect to these songs, exploring his city life and relationships, real or imagined, and his imagery is as vivid as his unique voice. This is definitely a singer/songwriter in his prime.