Folk Art And The Death of The Electric Jesus - The Bonnevilles (Twenty Stone Blatt Records)
Everybody else has their own garage punk blues duo so why not the Irish? The Bonnevilles (not to be confused with the Australian band of similar moniker) keep it stripped-back, fuzzy and simple to wipe the floor with most of the competition. Punk blues doesn’t get much better than this.
Let’s face facts. There’s not a lot you can do to the blues to make it different. Like the birth of your last kid or the trajectory of an Ashes winning cricket ball, it’s all in the delivery. The Bonnevilles don’t tart it up too much or employ any studio trickery. They do use dynamics and distortion pedals and their songs are pretty good.
Andrew McGibbon Junior is the vocalist, guitarist and songwriter and Chris McMullen the drummer-cum-percussionist. They’re two albums into this thing and attracting rave reviews over Europe for their high energy shows. “Folk Art…” doesn’t lack that but mixes the sonic outbursts with passages of quiet menace and brooding clarity. Producer Walter D Goon has pulled a rich, raw sound.
Robert Johnson has a lot to answer for and his legacy lives on for The Bonnevilles in lyrically dark songs like “Made. The Ballad of Ed Millar” which makes Nick Cave sound like a middle-aged gentleman with his own well-appointed home office in Brighton:
Just the chance to be alone
Just Me and my gun
The devil knows his own blood
The type that don’t wash off
Made by my gun
McGibbon has a soulful voice (without the hilt of a lilting Irish accent) that suits this sometimes reflective, always raw blues to a tee. McMullen is the sort of drummer who adds colour and builds a feel without playing all over the top of the songs.
Rawly invigorating if not a major diversion from the expected, “Folk Art” is certainly a cut above most of the rest.