Release Date: November 22, 2019
Genre: Alternative Rock
Benevolence is the newest album from Vancouver Island-based artist, Alexandria Maillot.
Benevolence has a deep warmth, with an updated 90’s rock/blues aesthetic not unlike Sheryl Crow, but modernized for current tastes. The warmth felt in this Benevolence is in large part due to the Alexandria’s smoky, sultry vocals, which are at once dark and confidential, but are also playful and humorous. To Alexandria’s voice, Benevolence adds guitar, bass, percussion, piano, synth, and various string arrangements to create a wall of sound that sways with the coaxing rhythm of each track. This is a great album for a good pair of headphones.
Standout tracks to me were “I Never Liked Your Friends”, “Someone to Keep You Warm” and “Make It Out”.
“I Never Liked Your Friends” mixes a playful guitar with tip-toeing strings and a swimming bass. This soundscape enhances the dark humor of the track’s lyrics: That being Alexandria is clearly trying to nonchalantly cover up how a bad breakup felt by listing its potential benefits: The main one being the singer, at the very least, will not miss her lover’s friends.
The track “Someone to Keep You Warm” is perhaps the most different song on Benevolence. Though most can fit into the alternative rock scene, “Someone to Keep You Warm” mixes an upbeat trap house riffs with a dark wave beat drops. This incongruity of mood is simply irresistible as ‘Someone to Keep You Warm’ whiplashes the listener through the moods of a big city; it’s potential and beauty, versus its isolation and palpable danger. The song keeps the listener as much off balance as Alexandria must have felt living in such an environment.
Finally, the track “Make It Out” starts with a few simple guitar chords as the other arrangements swirl chaotically around it; but despite this chaos, the guitar keeps chugging along like a reliable workhorse. This is a great compliment to the song’s lyrics which muse on pursuing a musical career in the face of mounting debt and depression. The song concludes though with the certainty that the steady work will pay off and Alexandria will ‘Make it out one day:” A universal message anyone pursuing a less-traveled path can appreciate.
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.