National Music Reviews
My Hands Were Stuck In My Pockets
Rain No Rain
Ben Reneer = Novo Amor + Bahamas
Ben Reneer’s new album, My Hands Were Stuck In My Pockets, is mellow and honest. There is an acoustic, coffeehouse feeling to most tracks, and Reneer dives deep into his emotions in this collection. It’s easy to feel the slow cracks of a relationship ending throughout the album, and the second half of the final song “Go.,” ties it up effortlessly: “It’s gonna take a lot of guts to stand my ground to give you up / It’s gonna take a lot of guts from both of us.” This line, repeated before the album closes, is heart wrenching in its plain truth. The sentiment behind this composition runs deep, and listeners can feel Reneer’s authenticity.
“A Ghost In Someone’s Body (feat. Emma Reneer)” is another beautiful and standout track. The subtle finger-plucking on an acoustic guitar sets a melancholic scene, then a harmony rushes in to accompany the chorus as Emma’s breathy voice dances alongside Ben’s seamlessly. The two voices continue this movement, playing off one another and taking turns balancing the melody. He brings in a deeper-sounding guitar after the first chorus, adding another layer to the instrumentals. The layering is what gives “A Ghost In Someone’s Body (feat. Emma Reneer)” an undeniably iridescent beauty.
Reneer pushes his stylistic boundaries in “Wasted Space (feat. Alba),” approaching a funky, ’80s sound rather than his comfortable slow and sad songs. The track felt a bit forced, and I could tell it was out of Reneer’s comfort zone. It worked well in the album, breaking up the mellow space with something different to catch the listener’s attention, but the song itself felt overproduced. It’s a catchy song, and I hope Reneer can continue to refine this side of his music for his next albums.
When I began listening to My Hands Were Stuck In my Pockets, I was skeptical, but as I listened closely and finished each song my ears and heart began to perk up. Reneer has a way of drawing in an audience through expressing vulnerability, which he begins in the title of the record. The title, My Hands Were Stuck In My Pockets, communicates a feeling and a moment without the need to spell it out. Ben Reneer’s music is similar: he can connect to a universal language without trying to be anything more than himself. It is the rawness of his writing that draws us in and reminds listeners why we love music. –Harper Haase