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Benny Clough - London Fog

Benny Clough is a young Baltimore-based musician, singer, composer and actor. His sophomore album is titled London Fog.

Clough is a graduate of Maryland’s Goucher College, earning a degree in Music Composition and Voice Performance. Growing up to bands like Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison and Pink Floyd, Clough’s musical ambition is to mix his childhood influences with a modern rock take.

Clough’s personal logo is a burning candle, and he explains that “everything I create has double or even triple meanings.” As a child Clough would stare at candles or fire with music playing in the background, especially during occasions like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or someone’s birthday. “It occurred to me years ago that music and flame share that same power. Just as one candle can light so many others, music can touch an infinite amount of people’s lives and perceptions for better or worse.” Having heard this album through, I can attest that Clough’s songs do have multiple meanings with a lot of gothic, spooky imagery in tow.

The set opens with “London Fog” a rollicking classic rocker with steady wah wah guitar, tribal drums and banshee rock vocals. Clough didn’t mention Deep Purple, Hendrix or Metallica in his bio, but I hear traces of all three powerhouse bands in his music. And you know the rock is heavy when you can play an actual bell along with it! “Double Groove” has a double set of crunch guitars setting the pace, again with the classic 70’s vocals and even a reference to the previous song (“The London Fog is thick…”). The lyrical imagery appears to be a tribute to Clough’s music-based life but has a creepy, Haunted House vibe.

“Dance Until We’re Bones” is an upbeat rocker with a fast acoustic strumming and phased guitars at its center. Again there’s Halloween-type imagery throughout (in a mansion on a hill, “a hundred blazing pair of eyes is all I see”) along with a spooky haunted organ. Clearly the title references living every moment to the hilt, but this sounds like a party that would scare the hell out of Luther Heggs (“Ghost And Mr. Chicken”). There’s a killer guitar solo (natch) and a voice-only section that breaks up this track nicely.

“Orange Moon” is a gentle acoustic ballad bathed in strings and electric keys, and now I can hear more than a bit of Michael Stipe in Clough’s “indoor voice.” I love the chorus of angelic voices created on the synths. There’s another surprise section in the middle with a solo from what sounds like Irish Uilleann pipes. “The Flood” takes us back to wah-wah rock with a vengeance, with a thick, grinding rhythm and vocals somewhere between Mike Stipe and Dio. The tumbling rockslide-like drums are also impressive here.

“Broken Arrows” is similar to a recurring title used by Neil Young, and there does seem to be a distant echo of Neil in the piano melody and acoustic guitar. This is the second song to feature Clough’s voice as the main instrument and he’s well served by his vocal abilities. Even without Irish instruments the chorus melodies again have a traditional Irish-English feel. Sounds like a massive Hit to me! The finale “One Last Candle” is perhaps the most R.E.M. sounding track, at least at the start. Big clouds of church-like organ and majestic guitars frame Clough’s dramatic, heartfelt vocals. He also sneaks in yet another self-reference: “The London fog is waning now…” indeed it is, but none the worse for wear!

Clough’s worked very hard on some pretty amazing tracks, and try as I might, it’s impossible to quibble with the result. Recommended!

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