Saturday, August 9, 2014

Album Review: Bonjah - Beautiful Wild (2014)

Coming to us out of Tauranga by way of Melbourne, where they’re currently based, hard rocking four-piece Bonjah return with studio album number three, Beautiful Wild.

This is a young band with a great back story; high school friends who left the bosom of home for the bright lights of Oz back in 2006, they honed their craft busking, initially out of pure necessity, before then hitting the road – touring extensively, not only in Australia, but right across the globe. They’ve done their time as a support act, as occasional headliners, and more recently as firm festival favourites.

All of that nous and experience is immediately apparent on Beautiful Wild, an album that positively bristles with the sort of self-assurance that only comes from time spent playing together. This is garage-meets-blues rock, of the harder variety, eleven solid tunes running the course of some 37 minutes.

Brooding opener ‘Bullet In The Barrel’ sets the tone, with the raspy vocal of Glenn Mossop well equipped to complement the slow burning tension at play in the music. ‘Evolution’ and ‘Honey’ were put out there as tasters well in advance of the album’s release, and they’re among the highlights, but the title track has to be the best thing here. It works as a slightly menacing centrepiece, with soulful harmonies, and a terrific vocal cameo from Ella Hooper.
Recorded at two locations in Melbourne and produced by Jan Skubiszewski, Beautiful Wild is all about possessing a certain type of swagger - let’s call it a rock’n’roll thing - and it’s something these guys have in spades.

(an edited version of this review originally appeared in the June/July edition of NZ Musician)

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