Brendan Benson, 'My Old, Familiar Friend' (ATO)

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My Old, Familiar Friend
Critical Mass
Label: ATO

by Barry Walters

When a songwriting collaboration with Jack White led to a partnership in the Raconteurs, power-pop cultist Brendan Benson tasted success far beyond the scope of his genre. And though Benson's fourth solo album is less distinctive and more finessed than the work of his money gig, it still puts his secondhand fame in perspective: Witness the wisdom of "Gonowhere" or the realization in "You Make a Fool Out of Me" that even his lover will exploit his newfound notoriety while belittling it. But a sensible tune isn't always a brokenhearted Beatles acolyte's best revenge -- a little audacity could've personalized the point.

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