BENEE — Lychee — EP Review

Alternative | Electronic | Indie | Pop

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

While 2022 has already proven itself to be another great musical year, I was starting to worry about the lack of EPs that the year had to offer. However, I am pleased that we now have my first EP review of the year, thanks to the musical project of New-Zealand singer-songwriter Stella Rose Bennett, known as BENEE.

A little disclaimer about how I am going to be approaching EP reviews first, before getting into a little more about this one in particular; it will pretty much play out in a similar way to what I did last year. For those that are new to my reviews, I will be rating these projects with a star rating out of 5, as opposed to a percentage score. That way, I won’t need to unfairly mix my criticism of EPs in with full-length albums.

But anyway, BENEE still stood as somewhat of an exciting upcomer when I first discovered her and her music. While her late 2019 EP STELLA & STEVE (which included the hit single “Supalonely”), was technically the very first instance of me knowing of her existence in the musical world, it only stood as a project that I almost reviewed.

My first actual review of BENEE, came with the release of her debut album, 2020’s Hey u x. And while my initial 10/10 rating for that album does now seem a little bit generous when looking back on it, said album still stands as a pretty incredible first shot at a full-length album.

And while BENEE’s brand new project, titled Lychee, isn’t quite enough in terms of runtime to be an album, I am still glad to finally hear how the artist has chosen to tread her next creative steps, even if in EP form.

To contradict my last sentence ever-so-slightly, Lychee is far from anything to scoff at, by EP standards. With 7 songs and a runtime of nearly 26 minutes, it is a very generous EP indeed. Although, we do have the near 7-minute closer to thank for a good chunk of said runtime.

And while the project’s generosity is certainly a sign of getting the EP reviews of 2022 off to a good start, it isn’t the only praiseworthy quality that Lychee carries. Where I would say that BENEE has improved the most, as shown by this EP, is atmospherically. While Hey u x was undoubtedly a very vibrant project, there were still rough edges here and there to suggest that there was more musical depth that BENEE could pull from. The opposite seems to be the case with Lychee, which presents an atmosphere reminiscent of a less stripped-back, more dynamic Arlo Parks.

The only real thing about this EP, that left more of a sour taste than anything else, was its narrative focus. While we all love an empowering musical projects that displays an artists love for oneself, the way that BENEE approached this felt a little shallow and one-dimensional a lot of the time.

But considering that Lychee is the only EP that I have really listened to in 2022 thus far, it’s certainly not a bad one to be getting started with.

Favourite Tracks: Soft Side | Hurt You, Gus | Doesn’t Matter

Least Favourite Track: Make You Sick

Republic Records | UMG Recordings

⭐⭐⭐

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