You cross my mind from time to time when I’m not stuck in the muck and the slime.

Pop music has an inherent ability to teach us something about ourselves. It is the music of the people. Catchy melodies draw us in like moths to flame – we just can’t quit. And Pesky Kid’s newest EP, Benny, offers messages of acceptance and self-love set to chill, sunny pop music.

From Saginaw, MI just North of Detroit, Benjamin Champagne has worked at venues and events across the state for years. While Pesky Kid is his solo project, he acknowledges that the Michigan music scene as a whole has influenced his work. Joined by producer (and occasional writer) Brandon Shew and drummer (and creative director) Jack Horrigan, Pesky Kid makes music inspired by 90s art-pop like Beck or Soul Coughing. Taking these influences and channeling them through a modern lens, Champagne & Co are embarking on their own pop journey.

Benny is an eclectic mix of sounds and moods. Opener “Is You Are You Down?” channels that 90s trip-hop feel and adds a little hyper pop into the mix. Champagne talks about a situationship with a sense of humor, singing, “You cross my mind from time to time when I’m not stuck in the muck and the slime.” Lyrically, Champagne is both sincere and sardonic, allowing for us to see all sides of ourselves in these songs. The first single, “Keys to Heaven,” reminds us that all we need is ourselves. Over a digital groove, Champagne sings, “The keys to heaven aren’t labeled / it’s all written in the palm of your hand.” Musically, Champagne is all over the place. He describes some songs as “2010 Kanye worship,” while others sound like “Justin Bieber trying to do Dijon.” Looking backwards, forwards, and all around, Champagne is able to conjure up sounds on this EP that span decades of pop music.

This release from Pesky Kid is obviously a labor of love – you can hear it in Champagne’s earnest vocals and the dialed-in mixes. Alternating between joie de vivre and biting critiques of the internet age, Champagne’s lyrics are smart and engaging. There’s great things on the horizon from this artist – why not hop on the train before it departs?