In its own universe, something nearing perfection...
With ‘Hiss’, you join [a]Ten Benson[/a] several years after ‘the joke’ wore off, when ‘the joke’ has mutated into their entire universe. While earlier indie hits like ‘The Claw’ were almost recognisable as novelty records, ‘Hiss’ has long since ceased to understand such concepts as humour, belligerently harrowing its way through its unploughed field of sound.
So perhaps the most surprising thing about [a]Ten Benson[/a]’s debut album is that it’s such an eminently listenable record; the relentless ‘Robot Tourist’ and homeless kids’ TV theme ‘Dr Hemlock’ are not only recognisably pop songs but obviously fairly good ones too. Perhaps more perversely, the Benson‘s adventures into sludgy hard rock – ‘Rock Cottage’ and ‘Under Heavy Riffage’ – almost tumble over the boundary from strangulated Beefheartian weirdness into the nu-stoner idyll of Queens Of The Stone Age.
After a prolonged exposure to Chris Teckkam‘s vision, you can’t help that think that the Benson could only ever have made unclassifiable music. ‘Hiss’ is a full stop in history, then; an unrepeatable assault on the evil empire of pop. In its own universe, something nearing perfection.