The Bonazzoli Band – American Ghost Stories
Review by Rory McDonald
Here we have a band that claims to combine the best of 20th century music into something new. I don’t exactly know what they mean by that and I was extremely skeptical but if weird and moody pop rock is your thing then give these guys a shot. What they’ve crafted here is something that buggers description when taken as a whole. On a song by song basis you hear well-crafted works from different genres spanning rock, country, swing and more. After I had been through the entire CD it did seem like I had been on a journey through music.
Let’s get to the songs by themselves. After a theatrical intro things get rolling quickly with the rockabilly track Road Have Mercy. Brian Setzer would be pleased with this one and it’s a high energy kickoff to the album. I would guess the favorite of the CD would be the ballad Taking Chances. Although some of the tracks are more interesting, none match the lush feel of this retro ballad. The strings, guitars and piano all come together to back up a classic Roy Orbison vocal.
Another standout for absurdity is Black Cat. Featuring honky tonk piano hopping all over the keys, an upright bass and a Johnny Cash vocal telling an old fashioned scary story would seem to be a miscalculation on the band’s part and yet, it works. It works wonderfully especially in the context of the album.
This is an artsy album for sure but there is time for some great playing as well. The instrumental track called Invicta shows the guitarists running at full speed in an amazing show of skill and taste. The piano, bass and drums hold back a bit on this and let the guitars scream away. Again, it’s somewhat out of place compared with the rest of the disc but in the context, it works.
Other standouts include the moody Concord Road, countrified Can’t Let Go and the mellow Union Station. My personal selection for if they gave out Grammy awards to unknown artists who make art for art’s sake would be the truly haunting song called Front Porch. Seeming to be about a lost soul who dreams of returning home one more time it’s got to be one of the prettiest songs I’ve heard in a while. It’s timeless and yet of another time. It would never get airplay nowadays, but such is the state of modern entertainment.
The whole album wraps up with a beautiful synthesized closing number called Do They Dream which sounds a bit like a movie theme in itself. I found it interesting that when this track closed it made a perfect transition back into the opening track. Whether this was by accident or by design I can’t say but I did let the CD run through again. It’s more cohesive the second time through and I’d assume it gets better and better with each listen.
So there you have it. There is still interesting music being written and The Bonazzoli Band is doing it right. Is American Ghost Stories genius or just weird? You’ll have to decide for yourself but give it a listen. You certainly won’t be bored and you may just have found your next favorite band.
Available on itunes, Amazon and elsewhere.
Where to purchase: http://bonazzoli.com/bonazzoli-band-music.html
Music Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cufL3Hm7NcI