Singer-songwriter Clara Benin has established her place in the music industry for her signature acoustic-folk sound and incredibly intimate lyricism. Her 2014 debut album, Human Eyes, is driven by acoustic guitar, harmonies, and Benin’s ability to draw listeners into her stories through her writing. It’s this sound that has carried her through the years, from her 2015 EP Riverchild to her 2019 hit single “Parallel Universe.”

befriending my tears marks a transition into a newer, richer, and hauntingly beautiful heavier and ambient sound. Though transitions in genres aren’t new in the music industry, what makes Benin’s album a cut above the rest is the fact that she marries the aspects of the sound she is known for with her new musical influences. The result is a seamless listening experience that draws in new audiences but also keep its connection with long-time fans. As a whole, the record is a great reintroduction to the singer-songwriter.

Benin doesn’t completely shed off her acoustic origins. Tracks like “affable dork” and “keep still” are easily reminiscent of her core sound. We also relive hints of Benin’s ambient and electronic era in songs like “momentary.” However, all these tracks are still anchored on the more complex and richer overall sound of the album.

A standout track from the album is “small town,” a great follow-up to an opener that eases listeners into the musical theme of the album. “small town” leans heavily on electric guitars and punchy drum beats while still leaving breathing room for it’s soothing melody and intimate heart wrenching lyrics like “I need to unlearn you / Feels like I know you too well / It’s impossible to go around without looking down / I don’t miss you but I really do miss being myself again.” The song is arguably the epitome of Benin’s musical sound thus far — unapologetically honest lyrics, beautiful harmonies, ambient synths, more pronounced drums, and striking electric guitar riffs.

Overall, Benin’s best aspects of her sound shine throughout the album while echoing new reasons to fall in love with her again. This is a sound that she should lean into more as she continues to reinvent herself, nearly 10 years into her career.

Focus tracks: “small town,” “imposter syndrome”

Listen to Clara Benin’s befriending my tears below: