Long before he became Jack White's right-hand man in the Raconteurs, Brendan Benson was turning out chewy nuggets of '70s-era power pop with dashes of alt-rock bite. The Michigan-bred singer-songwriter's fifth solo album doesn't break any new ground or even stray into unfamiliar territory. Instead, it's a dependable if somewhat forgettable slice of melodic and muscular rock that never gets too fussy or complicated. Unlike his more famous pal, Benson never sounds like he has something to prove. The songs here — especially the extravagantly lush "Bad for Me" and the top-down rocker "Light of Day" — fill up on big choruses, pounding pianos, and an unabashedly sincere love for 35-year-old radio hits as they straddle the line between Elton John and Electric Light Orchestra. — Gallucci
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