Photo: Moja

Album Review: Benedict Cork – Notes On a Hopeless Romance

After a number of impressive EP releases, British singer-songwriter Benedict Cork releases his debut album Notes On a Hopeless Romance on the 10th of May. Impressing with pre-release tracks including Soulmates, Nice Guy and Reasons I Loved You (I Can’t Think of One), the full LP sees Benedict blends his creative influences, combining pop with gospel touches and electronic flavours, to create alluring pop soundscapes with lyrical musings that are likely to strike a chord with listeners.

The star shares: “It’s been a proper labour of love putting this together over the past couple years. Making an album is something I’ve always dreamt of doing and to finally have the finished collection of songs in my hands is quite a surreal feeling. I really wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zone with this project.”

On the album’s stylistic influences, Benedict notes: “It’s a big melting pot of brash, electronic, melancholic, gospel-inspired pop music that I hope makes you feel things and gives you some comfort in the chaos of finding love, especially queer love! It’s dedicated to all the hearts I’ve known, all the hearts I’ve fallen for a little too quickly, and all the hearts that have screwed me over, even if I’m still a bit bitter”. 

See our track by track review below. Notes on a Hopeless Romance is available to pre-order now from numerous retailers including Benedict’s Bandcamp. You can also pre-save here.

Sanctuary: Opening with Benedict’s stirring vocal paired with quiet gospel inspired backing, Sanctuary builds with an understated impact as Benedict sings “I think I’ve found my sanctuary here with you,
(I’ve been hurting) / I don’t feel things the way I should / I’ll try to be a sanctuary for you too…”
capturing the enriching warmth and comforting safety a relationship can bring. The number is a beautiful snapshot of Benedict’s musical style, pairing big pop choruses, gospel touches, and smooth lightly electronic elements.

Nice Guy: Stepping the tempo up a notch, Nice Guy is one of the LP’s shining pop moments capturing the challenges of dating in the queer world and the fight for authentic connections. Frustrations of the struggles of being the ‘nice guy’ are channelled in powerful lines such as “Baby, I know I could be the man of your dreams / If I learn to fuck you over just like every other guy that you’ve been with…” with the musician’s vocals shining again high energy, rousing pop production from Benedict and HOOST.

The Good In You: There’s almost an Imogen Heap flavour to the light electronic vocal touches in Benedict’s voice in The Good In You, a number which tackles the intricate complexities of romance and relationships. The quite electronic notes of the opening build to a truly epic, stirring chorus in which a sense of empowerment shines through.

Reasons I Loved You (I Can’t Think of One): Pre-release track Reasons I Loved You (I Can’t Think of One) is another standout, a peppy pop number underpinned by charismatic piano instrumentation and building gospel backing and a clap along beat. The singer-songwriter reflects on a relationship’s red flags with a charismatic defiance in this deliciously charming diss track.

Soulmates: The album’s lead single sees Benedict collaborate with co-writer and co-producer Justin Tailor, with Soulmates seamlessly incorporating elements of singer-songwriter pop, gospel flourishes, and electronic pop touches. Underpinned by the poignant line “But do you know / You coulda been / One of my soulmates…” Benedict pitches his vocals beautifully – allowing a sense of the vulnerability of exposing oneself to the fragility of memories, yet a headstrong resilience to shine and move on. There’s a sense of quiet triumph about this powerhouse pop track that lays its heart on its sleeve.

Beauty Queen: “The curtain falls and I’m still fucking lonely / It’s like I’m tryna make the whole world love me / But when they call me beauty queen / It’ll fix this broken part of me…” Benedict croons on the vulnerable number Beauty Queen, a gracefully understated number which shimmers through an absorbing piano melody.

God Damn: A Garbage-esque punkiness permeates through God Damn, infusing this brassy pop number with raw energy and attitude. The song is underpinned by a defiant percussion that pulses throughout, setting the stage for Benedict’s swaggering vocal delivery. As the number unfolds, there’s a rebellious spirit that soars – blending edgy pop-punk elements with an unapologetic pop sensibility. This a number that’s both rebellious and infectious, displaying another string to the singer’s musical bow.

Until We F It Up: A powerful vocal accompanies a stirring piano melody on this track that centres on a destructive love affair – exploring the all consuming highs and lows. Building the tempo throughout, this is an all emotions bared ballad of impressive proportions.

Into the Arms of Another Love: The aftermath of a broken heart is explored in Benedict’s whispering vocal set against mellow pop production with a near bossa nova flavour to it. This a breezy yet emotive pop number, quite unlike the rest of the album despite its gospel inspired backing vocals and pop slickness being fully present.

I Know He’ll Be Gone In a Little While: This album closer documents a fleeting romance with the line ‘But I know he’ll be gone in a little while’ echoing throughout, bringing in some supportive voice notes from friends to close the LP. This is a quietly impressive number that guides the album to a relaxed conclusion, further asserting it as a truly impeccable pop album.

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