A couple of weeks ago, a new trio in London called Benin City released a debut album entitled Fires in the Park, and as one of the tracks included on it, a promising number, “Baby,” had previously been featured here, and the record as a whole moves on a comparable level, a further presentation now seems to be in order – especially on a calm Friday evening, as the band’s music in its various moods sounds as though it were made for the longer stretches of free time of the weekend.
Benin City, comprising the drummer Theo Buckingham, the vocalist Joshua Idehen, and the saxophonist Tom Leaper, is named after a provincial capital in Nigeria, and in its case this is no arbitrary gesture, as some elements of African music enter into its distinctive mix, lending an accent to the more common genres (in which, to be sure, the heritage of that continent is also patent), rhythm and blues, jazz, and rap most obviously, which the three musicians delight in combining in ways and proportions that vary from song to song yet which all sound as though they were at least relatively new. As such their arrangements are fine complements to the lyrics (or texts, whenever they are not so much sung as declaimed), which have been written with care and even at times a measure of poetic daring and self-assertion: for this is music that aims to leave a mark.
On the band’s Soundcloud page, Fires in the Park is offered to listeners in its entirety, while the album may also be purchased via the usual channels.
Three tracks afford some idea of where Benin City hails from, musically speaking, and where it might next be headed: “Faithless,” “Winning Streak,” and “D.A.M.”
Its further ventures, both in the studio and on stage (there are a number of concerts planned for the near future) will be ones to follow, either live or else virtually, through the visa-less realm of the Internet.