Record Review: Kitty Pills by Providence band The Benji’s

Latest EP is a lively mix of power pop garage and ‘80s synth


Shimmering reverb guitars, crunchy ‘80s-inspired synthesizer, and heavy-handed down-beat drums land The Benji’s in the company of catchy power-pop acts such as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Deadly Desert, and Hot Hot Heat, all while maintaining a balanced, brooding style all their own. On their upcoming EP Kitty Pills, listeners will find a tight collection that taps into that timeless pop-punk-grunge straight-out-of-the-garage sound but with the band putting their own spin on things. The shimmering tremolo accents, reverb, and vintage no-frills synth create an atmosphere that carries as a throughline between the tracks on this EP. 

Made up of Philip Geronimo, Maryssa Morse, and a rotation of drummers including Adam Cargin (on the EP) and Al Diaz (live), The Benji’s have been a Providence fixture since relocating from Los Angeles in 2016. Kitty Pills picks up where their first self-titled EP leaves off, bringing the aesthetic, sound, tone, and vibe of the band forward with songs that add to their narrative arc and emotional intention built around strong, crisp lyrics over equally articulated guitar – but, this time, with a more pumped-up sound.

“Phil has always had a secret love affair with synths and synth bass in particular, especially after composing music for films,” says singer Maryssa Morse of her longtime collaborator. “Out of necessity, I started playing synth bass for the band and our sound has been morphing ever since!”

Work on Kitty Pills began in January 2020 with producer Jeff Robbins of 123 Astronaut and Orbit; in 2022, The Benji’s were awarded a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts grant to finish the EP. The band also used funds to support other artists involved in the project, including Byron Olson who created the cover art.

The Benji’s is a band best experienced live with the tracks serving as necessary homework to be fully enjoyed in a high-energy, lyric-screaming live show. Between songs like “Good Living,” “Shimmering,” and “Skate” – described by Morse as “basically a sloppy love letter to Parker Posey” – The Benji’s inject energy into these recordings that feel live. 

“Old albums did it right with order and vibe, having you remember exactly what song was next when you loved an album,” Morse states emphatically. “Streaming has changed this a bit, but what Phil and I wanted for this EP was to take our audience on a ride of ups and downs as far as bursts of energy.”

For details on live shows and the release of Kitty Pills on all streaming services, follow The Benji’s on  Facebook, and Bandcamp.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here