Megan Bonnell blasted onto my speakers earlier this year and I’ve been anticipating her album for a while. “Hunt and Chase” delivers in spades with its taut musical atmosphere that stretches from acoustic guitar to piano rock anthems.
“Coming Home” opens with a tight and claustrophobic guitar riff and Megan’s distinctive husk in her voice and the twang in her accent. One of her traits in this album is the way she doubles her vocals with a strong main vocal and a higher register bleeding behind it. It makes a potent mix that when combined with muddy and distorted drums makes you dizzy with alternative hedonism – especially with the chanting riffs. “Found You” is bare and minimalistic to begin with as Megan’s vocals carry the track until it blossoms into a rousing shimmering anthem. The chorus is perfectly pitched as she rejoices “I found you” over and over. “Stars” is far more folk waltz orientated in a Beth Orton style and its here where you can hear similarities between the two vocalists most. The organs, production and quirks in the tempo delivery here elevate a good song into a great one as Bonnell rings out every emotion from each chord.
“Say My Name” is a piano rock ballad that builds over the track. It’s full of minor notes which pleased me no end and the space given to let the drums resonate makes every punch hit a little harder. “I’m Not Your Woman” is a piano and vocal track that whilst it its a ballad, is far from soppy. The barren ballad is left for the formidably simple “We Are Strangers Now” which is utterly heart wrenching. It’s such a simple track that Megan rips your heart out too – especially when all the gentle synths slowly fade in for the finale. Then comes my favourite track of the album which is the maddening piano industrial track “Hunt and Chase” which lets Megan go percussive mad and let rip with piano hooks. It’s the rockiest and most unhinged the album goes but this side to Bonnell is one I hope she explores further in her career.
“Slowly” returns to delicate acoustic guitars and hushed vocals and the beauty of this track is it doesn’t feel like it’s played to a click track as there’s little pauses here and there that accentuate the emotional charts the track covers. “Off the World” is equal parts ethereal and frenzied. The track starts off quiet and ballad-like but then ascends into a dramatic pulsating buzz of instruments that then explode into a watery waves of goodbyes. The production here and the use of volume is key to making the song literally grow in your ears. This paves the way for the gentle serenade of “This is the Way For Us” which is a cute way to round off the album.
Megan Bonnell’s album is fantastic. It shows a range of skills and emotions as well circling round several alt-rock styles. With “Hunt and Chase” she rockets into the higher tier of female singer/songwriters. Ladies and Gents – a new star is born.