Photo: Imogen Wilson
One would assume as the year draws to a close, things start to settle and slow. But not for BENEE! After her debut EP FIRE ON MARZZ released earlier this year, the young star in the making pulled a fast one on us. Turns out she was nowhere near done. She's just dropped her sophomore outing, STELLA & STEVE.
STELLA & STEVE quenches a thirst. It goes down better than your favorite drink ever could. In a world where pop-R&B is finally summiting and our Spotify discovery can present us with five young women who sound oddly alike, enters BENEE to provide a breath of fresh air. With her richer than dark chocolate voice and youthfully vivid production, she is breathing novelty and coolness into the genre. Like a cold breeze that snuck into your jacket, she has our full attention.
Curiosity brought us, but her vibe made us stay. Each of BENEE's songs is a world unto its own, living its own unique color palette. On "Blue," we see her most psychedelic side. Feeling far from blue, the singer goes for it, making her voice swirl back and forth between your ears. Instrumentally, the Tame Impala influence is evident. The kick drum is slightly muted, while several guitar chords are strummed like a fan, exaggerated by the same delay and compressor pedals. The track provides a mellowing balance to the project.
The most vivid colors come from "Supalonely." Tambourines flutter around both BENEE and guest Gus Dapperton as they thrive in their shared isolation. It's an ironic anthem for loserdom and desolation. The idea is flipped, BENEE proclaiming "I'm a lonely bitch!" over a bouncy melody no one could carry quite like her.
"Drifting" sees BENEE's most bold bassline and catchiest hook to date. She circles back to the theme of exploration brought on in the project's lead single, "Find an Island," singing "Space, we're all driftin' through space / Finding our way." This groovy track also sports a feature from alt/blues artist Jack Berry, whose rustic vocals add a richness to the song's overall hue.
Ripe with fresh ideas and nuanced quirks, BENEE's originality propels her work forward. STELLA & STEVE blinds with color harmony. There are no misses; it's just hits.
Listen to STELLA & STEVE below: