Under the moniker of Benevolent & Divine, Branden Andrade seems intent on recalling the aesthetics that have influenced him, the people, the stormy alternative rock of yesteryear, and the potency he’s witnessed firsthand on the frontlines of a genre that has never been able to sit still for very long at all in his single “Hyacinth,” and although he’s an unknown among some music circles, the narrative of his song translates as well as an epic piece from a legendary rocker would. He wastes no time attacking the verses with a candid, homespun lyrical style that lends to his already comforting voice enormously.
His words aren’t saturated in excessive reverb or any of the unnecessary bells and whistles that have become all too common in alternative music lately. From beginning to end in “Hyacinth,” Benevolent & Divine gives us a tangible, unfanciful performance that is worth its weight in gold if you dig relatable indie pop/rock, and even if you aren’t the biggest fan of the genre, it’s still a single that I would describe as being one of the more erudite entries in the songbook of summer 2023 without question.
The production quality is rock-solid in this piece, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think that Benevolent & Divine needs a lot of assistance in making his music profoundly effective. With a casual peek at the foundations here, interested listeners will find traces of numerous artistic exhibitions where his tone and talents are just as sharp as they are on the cosmetic end of this studio track (if not a little more so).
He’s not leaning on the luxury of a tech-savvy studio blueprint in “Hyacinth,” and I hope that he sticks to this barebones style in the future. When you’ve got a skillset as strong as his is, you not only have no use for the filler-frills that a lot of artists require when developing new music, but you tend to do a lot better when there are no augmented interferences to come between your artistry and the audience that you’re trying to reach. Benevolent & Divine might be a new player in this game, but he’s already acquired a crucial tool that some musicians would spend a lifetime trying to capture.
There’s still plenty of room for growth and an evolved version of his present sound, but as of this moment deeming Benevolent & Divine’s work as anything other than splendid would be dismissive of his remarkably adept talents. “Hyacinth” is a tremendous introduction to his music, not to mention prime fodder for the radio dial as well, and were he to stay on this present trajectory in the making of a new full-length studio album, it wouldn’t be difficult for me to imagine him breaking into the mainstream a lot sooner than later.
He’s a one-of-a-kind character that doesn’t have to try all that hard to make a big impression on both critics and occasional listeners, and with just a bit more improvement he could certainly rise to prominence in his scene and abroad in the next couple of years.