A lush mix of shoegaze and psychedelia, Bonfire Nights’ debut album really covers a wide selection of rock and you can hear the mesh of their Australian rock roots and their current London surroundings.
Opening with anthemic “Easy Touch” you are introduced to the male/female dual vocal delivery. Ruth and Suzie’s vocals are more subtle and remind me of Ladytron whereas Steve’s are more laboured and glam-rock in places. They work really well together in their disjointed, discordant way and when you’ve the heavy grooves and wall of keyboard, guitar and bass plunging into your ears it all makes a spooky kinda sense. “Mesmer Isles” continues to build on this with some slick percussion of synth work that become the framework for which the other instruments smash their bloodied bodies over. Personal favourite “Heart’s to Blame” is more structured in its riffs and everything is amped up to ten except the vocals that feel dissonant and disconnected from the rest of the track. It’s everything a great shoegaze/psyc track should be and its powerful clash of noise. I hate to use the term stoner rock but it fits the bill perfectly.
“Low” is the albums first breather with a brooding mysterious track that conveys a different side to the quintet and is a great track. It works perfectly in contrast to the raucous and amazingly loud “Ego Death” which has open chords, guitar solos, chord bends and so much pedal action over a simple riff – it’s the kind of track that would open a stadium performance and wake up everyone. It takes me back to the 70’s style of power chords where simplicity was king and the atmosphere was built around that simplicity. It then explodes into a frenzied finale that sends a surge of power into your ears – love it. “Bo Diddley Did Me” has a rocking riff on repeat and a bizarre vibrato effect on the vocal that is designed to ruin your mind rather than be pleasing on the ear. When all the keyboard effects come into play and the female screams of sirens battle with the guitars it’s a freaky Halloween track in the making.
“Going Round” plays more with the instruments than the track itself as fine vintage organs battle with walls of guitar echoes revolving around a circular chord pattern and at nearly six minutes you find yourself lost in the groove before “Signal Failure” gives us a short interlude of synth buzzes and London Underground announcements that make me laugh and shudder as a commuter! Finally the album closes with “Crossing the Wires” which is a grower before a shower. It spends the first three minutes building up to its big finale that rocks the house down in its own weird and wonderfully smashed up way.
Shoegazers unite – we’ve got a new band for you to enjoy and unite over. This is the kind of album you’ll be playing as you have a glorious end to a great night out or are getting ready to go nuts on one instead. It wears its influences on its sleeve but has fun rearranging them around and in a year where many of my usual go to’s for this genre has been silent – Bonfire Nights more than fill the void.
Recommended Track : Heart’s To Blame