Wise Beyond Their Years
Critics agreed (well, Chris Morin and I, anyway) that Young Benjamins were one of the best new bands of the last year in Saskatoon. They’re folky without being steeped in granola, indie rock without being pretentious hipsters, and likeably poppy without using the devil’s autotune, creating comfortable songs that still have a cunning uniqueness to them.
The band came together last year, when drummer Kuba Szmigielski and guitarist/vocalist Neusha Mofazzali met at the University of Saskatchewan, leading to an impromptu jam session.
“After [writing and rehearsing] a few originals we decided to play an open mic,” says Mofazzali. “That’s where we met Saskatoon’s sweetheart of sweethearts [violinist and vocalist] Veronique Poulin. We ended up playing shows as a trio, and while recording our first EP we decided to have bass in our songs. In stepped Enver Hampton, bass god; he helped us structure our songs a lot, but we mutually parted ways, as he had his own projects to tend to. Our new bassist, Brynn Krysa, is killing it for us at the moment and we’re stoked she jumped on the YB train.”
The name Young Benjamins was inspired by the classic Mike Nichols film The Graduate. Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin Braddock, gets romantically entangled with Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father’s business partner.
“I’m a seducer of the older ladies — I bet that’s what you’re thinking,” jokes Moffazzali. “Anyway, I thought it would be a cool name.”
Their sound could lazily be termed guitar-driven indie-folk rock, though that wouldn’t really do them justice. Having a violin as a lead instrument definitely adds to the uniqueness, and they’re obviously skilled musicians. The new track, “Bones” (which you can find on Bandcamp), has taken their sound even further, bopping along with a Soweto groove, with some excellent vocals from Mofazzali and Poulin and a sweet bass and drum run near the end. They sound like they’re having a lot of fun, which also translates well to their live shows.
“I think we have an awesome relationship,” says Moffazzali, “on and off stage. People watching can tell. [On stage, we] smile and laugh and jump a lot.”
You can see the band in a more intimate setting than usual, at a “secret” house show on July 30th at their pad at 1003 Colony Street. Did I just blow the secret? Oh, yes I did. Now check out “Bones” on Bandcamp, and then get your ass down to the show.