The Bonfire Band 'Shelley’s House' album review

The Bonfire Band ‘Shelley’s House’ (Self released)
DL/CD
Available now

The Bonfire Band’s beguiling sounds are uncannily penetrating. Soulful wit, harp steeped blues and Celtic folk roots; at times their sound veers towards the deep south spiritual. Lyrically they deliver straight rhyme n’reason that can take you to unexpectedly dark places.

Whilst the band has gigged for sometime as a five piece, their recordings have followed a pattern of bemusing logic, evolving from duo Will Heath (bass, vocals) and Ben Faulkner (harp, guitar, vocals) on ”ËœOne Man Can’t Carry Half a Piano’, to ”ËœRecordings from the Plough’ a three hander, including Adam Beattie on banjo and lead guitar: a ”Ëœstraight take to tape’ of their original compositions. The music press doffed its’ cap at the band’s early recordings with plaudits from several national publications. Their third release ”ËœShelley’s House’, cut in Ireland, sees the band in quartet format with the addition of Dom Brider on drum kit, bringing his shuffles and pulsating beats to the recordings and a brief appearance on vocals (more please), when all four come together for ”ËœDon’t Take Me Now’. Shelley’s House comprises 14 tracks: a few re-workings of old songs, new writing and 2 great covers of Philip Roebuck’s ”ËœBe My Little Widow’ and ”ËœRosalind’ by Eamonn Flynn of Foghorn Leghorn and Southern Tenant Folk Union.

”ËœSuperglue’ written by Aberdeen born Beattie, opens the album; not the recollections of a substance abuser, but a quirky love song; other credits include Sunday Morning: skiffle beats and lofty picking, and ”ËœWithout a Tear’ shades of European noir. Citing Bert Jansch (with whom he once shared a stage) as his song writing hero, Beattie has a winning blend of whiskey smooth warmth, and dark ”Ëœlost in the night’ freedom.
Faulkner’s songwriting dominates, at his acerbic best on ”ËœMinus Twenty Grand’, pacey sounds and lyrics that cut to the quick ”Ëœ: I’ve been working all day, doing my best, all I earned is enough to pay the interest’”¦.’I’ve got minus twenty grand some people have nothing at all’. Along with ”Ëœ A Banker to a Thief’ from their first album ”ËœFaulkner has come up with some generation defining lyrics; bleakly they ring as true today as when first released in 2009. The screen play value of his sounds hasn’t gone unnoticed, with originals included in the soundtracks of two BBC documentaries to date. His belting harp infused more personal compositions have a steely reflective aura of their own. Will Heath’s guitar led ”ËœReally Good Woman’ is a straight rye blues counterbalance. Heath’s distinctive rich vocals and subtle bass enrich the sound, pushing an illusive quality within the music.

For the past few years The Bonfire Band have gigged the circuits of London, Scotland, and wider Europe to audiences of thousands, creating a direct rapport with their followers. A tight bunch of talents, on top of their performance. Still young with a few years on the scene now under their belt, whether they chose to go with a label or continue on their independent path they’re sure to take a substantial fan base with them.

Shelley’s House, available at www.thebonfireband.co.uk and also on i-tunes and spotify…

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