Just when you thought you’d heard everything, Benji Tranter and The Well Adjusted Individuals put a new spin on things with At The Launderette, four tracks of fun that transform everyday mundanity into a collection of quirky delights. Jazz, blues, rock, country, pop, whatever your taste, if you’ve got a fancy for the idiosyncratic, there’s something here for you.
Before you read on, Benji is giving a FREE download of “Clothes Horse” to Angry Baby readers. It’s a track he wrote and recorded a while ago, but the theme certainly links with laundry. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
With a nod to emotional hygiene, opening track “The Launderette Song” perfects the art of puns and similes – ‘I’d use that change machine, see I could use some change in my life‘ – which could be cringingly corny, if it wasn’t so darned clever. Recognising when a metaphor has been stretched far enough, there’s not a trace of a washboard or anything even remotely resembling skiffle in the arrangement (although the cheesy part of me sort of wishes there had been). Instead, Benji’s vocals, warmly sincere with just enough tongue in cheek, are supported by a beautiful blues arrangement, more reminiscent of late night jazz clubs than all-night laundries.
Every town deserves a place where the cool kids meet and everyone is welcome. Track 2, “The Convivial Cafe” paints a lyrical picture of just such a place – retro and fun, with the promise of crepes and ‘Blue Moon’ on the jukebox. Surely this place must exist somewhere? According to Google it’s about halfway between Paris and Nantes. Can’t manage the journey? press ‘play’ and Benji and the band will take you there, throwing in a generous helping of pop-rock that’s sure to get the bon vivants bopping along.
Barbra Streisand told us ‘it’s the laughter we remember‘ and it seems that Benji’s recollections are just as rose-tinted. Unashamedly nostalgic, “The Memory Song” provides a three-and-a-half-minute snapshot of happy times. Even the moules are singing along, which isn’t surprising as the song has the chirpiest hook-line of all times. With the tiniest taste of country to spice up the pop vibe, if you’re looking for an up-beat mood-setter, this could be the song of your summer.
Rounding off the EP, “Upping the Workload” gives food for thought. If the song is about working harder, why is it set to a luxuriously laid-back ballad of a track? Weaving the story of a relationship between a demanding boss and his worker, ‘Cloth ears…listen here…make yourself useful for once in your insignificant life‘ and told in the first person, this glimpses a scene we can all relate to (whichever side of the conversation we’ve been on!). Credit has to go to the delicious harmonies that bring vocal sophistication to a deceptively complex track.
At The Launderette is an EP with a huge helping of humour. Following in the tradition of Flanders and Swan, Bernard Cribbins, Neil Innes and The Divine Comedy, Benji Tranter and The Well Adjusted Individuals prove that there is wit in every circumstance. South-London based Benji deserves his label ‘youthful, charismatic songwriter of strange, vibrantly hyperreal vignettes’. The Well Adjusted Individuals are Dan Bramley (keys) and Jovis Lane (drums) – Benji explains the band’s name-choice with whimsical candour:
‘The name probably comes from a subconscious desire to give poster designers a head-ache… (That backfired because I’ve been designing my own posters recently.) Also because I think maybe a lot of bands try to dress up as ‘badass’ and ‘real’ when in fact they were head boy and come from an upper middle class background. This is a slightly caricatured over-statement on that issue… Dan and Jovis have grown into the roles more and more recently, wearing matching knitted jumpers or smart shirts and appearing rather prim and proper!’
That knitwear has got to be worth seeing, especially as BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson describes Benji as a ‘really riveting stage performer‘.
Benji’s advice for anyone just starting out with their music is surprisingly down to earth for someone whose work is so lighthearted:
‘write, write and write some more! Once you have enough songs to gig; gig, gig and gig some more! These are the two pillars of my practise as an artist and the more experience you can get in both fields, the better. But don’t stop writing because you ‘have enough songs for now’- keep pushing’
Follow Benji Tranter and The Well Adjusted Individuals at:
At The Laundrette was released on 1 July 2016 – get your copy here
And get your free download of music from Angry Baby now, including Benji Tranter’s’ “Clothes Horse” – just pop your email down below