With Mr Experience, Donny Benét offers us an excursion into the meanders of Italo-disco, a strain of dance music born in the 1970s in Europe, respectful of tradition and under the influence of a paternal heritage, Antonio Giacomelli Benét having distinguished himself as an accordionist in Italy in the 1970s. The cover speaks for itself – the Australian artist reappropriates the visual codes in line with the aesthetics of the time: moustache trimmed to the millimeter, exposed body hair, long locks. Think open shirt and shiny gold chain, minus the shirt. The title track opens the album, unveiling a crooner’s voice with lightness, without ever falling into suave cliché. Musically, post-disco lovers will be well served: snappy, funky bass lines (“Negroni Summer”), synthesizers that are alternately catchy (“Second Dinner”) and expressive (“Take a Trip”), four-to-the-floor percussion (“Moving Up”). Vocals and instrumental passages intertwine sensually, never one over the other. “Reach Out” sounds much more pop (without knowing why, I hear Jeanne Mas in the intro). Love relationships are at the heart of the lyrics, as “You Don’t Need Love” and the ballad “Girl of My Dreams” affirm. The composer is a fan of Michael McDonald, and you can hear it. The album, which rightly embraces kitsch, confirms that Donny Bénet is playing in the big league. Released on the 100% Australian label Dot Dash, this successful effort is perfect accompaniment for the forthcoming long summer evenings, against a backdrop of sunset, in the dampness of dusk.
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