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The music of ‘Eliminate…’ shows an increased confidence in the production and structure of Benedikt’s compositions. Many of Benedikt’s previous albums, if we’re honest, didn’t sound that good. It felt like they were recorded in a village hall with a poorly house-trained school band that would completely overpower the proceedings. There was lots of energy, but it would fly out in every direction, leaving an empty centre. With ‘Eliminate…’ though, the music is enclosed, with everything close mic’d and hemmed in cheek by jowl. It seals in the energy of the music, allowing the natural acoustics of the instruments and vocals to provide the power. When the percussion and brass enter the fray on songs such as “I Am Free,” and “Rise, Rise, Rise,” there’s a definite rumbling undercurrent to the melody that wasn’t there before. “Siam” has him taking his minimalistic style to a new level, chanting the song’s mantric title, with his guitar giving off sitar-like harmonics.
The production of ‘Eliminate…” allows the intimacy invoked on ‘Retaliate’ to be fully realised on several songs. Benedikt’s voice is a soft, lilting thing, but even he will admit that it is not the strongest vocal out there. But there are moments on ‘Eliminate…’ where everything is stripped back to its core and you can hear the quivering in his melodies. A song such as “Lucano & Ramona,” for example just ACHES in its tenderness. Tremolo heavy guitar notes hang thick in the air while Benedikt’s fragile vocals tell a tale of love and death on an apartment roof.
This leads to the lyrical themes of ‘Eliminate…’ that are different to his previous albums. Benedikt’s pervious music would contain lyrics that could be cynical, but ultimately they were silly, knockabout fluff. The themes of ‘Eliminate…’ however are much darker, occasionally venturing into the territory of ‘I See A Darkness’ era Will Oldham. Benedikt seems much more willing to just let the black night of woe and hurt take him over. Songs such as “Beat Me Until You Are Tired,” are utterly deadpan and succinct in its depiction of New Year’s violence, while “Rise, Rise, Rise” and “Darkness” seem to revel in this abyss. But it never truly succumbs to the nihilistic self-destruction as the final track “Eliminate Evil, Revive Good Times,” finally manages to come up for air to breath in the light.