The Bennies

Wisdom Machine

Written by: MAK on 22/03/2016 16:47:08

Welcome to the "Wisdom Machine", a wacky insight into the confused brains of Melbourne act The Bennies, which is somewhat weird and wonderful at the same time. The highly anticipated follow up to the 2013 release “Rainbows In Space” takes us on an adventure through a vast array of influences that probably shouldn’t work, especially when they describe themselves as “Psychedelic Reggae Ska Doom Metal Punk Rock From Hell”.

We open up with “Heavy Reggae”, a title that is spot on for how the song sounds, it is essentially a reggae track with rock guitars as an opening interlude to set the tone that is relaxed but has a punchy edge to it. This leads on into “Party Machine”, a track that merges indie-rock, punk-rock and synth-pop into a pure party anthem, where the vibes are as positive as standard pop-punk. “Maybe We Could Get High” is the first of many songs about taking drugs, because just in case you weren’t aware, The Bennies like to get high, they certainly tell us enough times. The song is a pure mashup of skate-punk and third-wave ska that could easy feature on any Tony Hawks Pro Skater game. It’s joyful and fun and makes you think of summer activities.

“Legalise (But Don’t Tax) is more obvious about smoking weed and about standing up to legalise the drug. Really these song names are very blatant. It takes a more melodic approach but is rather anthemic in the chorus, as the words “Take me higher” repeated get catchier the more you hear them. “Detroit Rock Ciggies” picks back up from “Maybe We Could Get High” with the positive vibes and skate-punk mixed with third-wave. The next couple of tracks follow on the same wave of party and drug topics. “Party 'Till I Die” is an erratic punk hit that takes influence from the likes of Dead Kennedys but the ska-punk still flows strongly. “Burnout City” is a straight up reggae track - perhaps the only song on the album that doesn’t try to overtly merge genres.

"Wisdom Machine" is far more than just party anthems, however, as we see The Bennies explore new directions: There's the politically charged, Sabbath inspired “Corruption”, which mixes sleazy heavy rock and reggae in sublime fashion. Then we have the personal, seven-minute epic “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” that again focuses on the band’s melodic reggae side for the majority, but throws in some catchy punk-rock for good measure.

This is possibly the most diverse sounding ska-punk album I’ve heard as far as all the different influences that are thrown in, and too many ingredients sometimes ruin the mix but The Bennies manage to pull it off. The overused talk of weed gets boring after a while, but you can tell the band are clearly passionate about the topic. The same goes for the Zebrahead influenced party anthems that are clearly fun but it seems a little forced. Either way, this is a joyful effort from the Aussie lads.


Download: Maybe We Could Get High, Corruption, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
For The Fans Of: Sublime, Morning Glory, NOFX

Release date 25.03.2016
Uncle M Music / Cargo Records

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