Isn’t the whole idea of folky singer-songwriter music to emerge in existential doubts, pining over a broken love or something equally gloomy? Well, the London-based Benji Tranter might just turn that idea around and has released an entire debut LP around the idea of an upbeat take on home-recorded folk music. Songs To Make You Happy then might just be an adequate title for that and the result is an uplifting, largely quirky and down-to-earth selection of acoustic pieces that dwell along the lines of authentic observation and rugged trial-and-error acoustic play.
“I find this time of year truly magical, a time to slow down and take stock, to hibernate, away from the busyness of the world, the anxiety of social media. I’ve had a few occasions where songs will come to me around New Year’s Eve, but this one stuck and I’m very fond of it. It’s about shaking off my jade world view (briefly), appreciating what I have, and choosing, or at least intending to choose love, kindness, and hope.” (Benji Tranter on ‘To Your Eyes’)
By turns jaunty and never without a strong melodic focus, the music always keeps its pure DIY signature, while consciously nodding to the likes of Nick Drake, Elliot Smith or Conor Oberst, although the twist on his Songs To Make You Happy remains more on the brighter side of the folk universe. What emerges all the way through the record is the charming nature and the approach to gather a chaotic collection of little vignettes, extracts of personal diary entries, polaroid snapshots and notebook poetry excerpts. This gives the songs not only the unharmed air of watching someone sing from his very heart, but also commits to the unvarnished patchwork character that underlies the whole idea of the record.
Songs To Make You Happy is out now via Pear O’ Legs Records. Listen to it over on Bandcamp.
Every Monday, the NBHAP staff brings an exciting new artist to your attention alongside a 30-track-strong Introducing Playlist on Spotify. Feel invited to follow the playlist and give these talents a spin. Along with tracks from Benji Tranter‘s debut, this week’s update includes new songs from Billie Marten, Maple Glider, Eleni Drake and more. Tune in below.