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The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2

In this concept album the Steve Bonino project gives us a futuristic view of a new world living under a dome and its struggles to maintain its existence. From opening track "The Grand Finale", we are treated to an odd yet well delivered song, moving quickly to following track "Under The Dome", a tune that largely seems to miss the mark but still is easy on the ears.

With other tracks like "Dark Light Divide", we are treated to a big sounding instrumental with some fine lead guitar work from guitarist Peter Matuchniak. The album at times does have a bit of a strange disjointed feel to it, with the song "City Out Of Time" whiche is a bit strange and confusing. "Hyperspeed Overdrive" is a truly amped up instrumental that is in my opinion one of the the best tracks on the album. Stargazer 2 climaxes with "Fear" which is a nice piece of music that closes out the album well.

Track Listing
  1. The Grand Finale
  2. Under The Dome
  3. The Dark Light Divide
  4. So Familiar
  5. City Out Of Time
  6. Alien Progeny
  7. Broken Record
  8. Hyperspeed Overdrive
  9. Codex
  10. The Ancient Superman
  11. Fear

Added: February 25th 2020
Reviewer: John Patrick Robbins
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 1184
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer 2
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2020-02-25 21:38:47
My Score:

Is this the conclusion? The end of the journey both for Stargazer and for the human race? How many chances to get it wrong do we need? Join The Steve Bonino Project on the journey with Stargazer 2 to find out….

The opening album in this tail found the human race teetering on the brink, but not for the first time. Planet ravaged, technology thought of as the answer and another journey deep into the stars undertaken to begin again… again… Known for his service with Bomber Goggles, multi-instrumentalist and singer Steve Bonino is the curator of this story, where the amazing advances humans have made both create the problem and solution as they burn through resources and home planets. It’s a harrowingly believably tale, albeit one set in a distant future and where we seem to have options that we don’t currently possess to up sticks into space and repopulate. To say that it doesn’t all go to plan would be both right and wrong. However, the more pertinent concern is whether we learn the lessons, or heed the warnings. We in reality have time to do just that but then so did the people in the Stargazer future. Can we choose wisely? Did they…?

As ever with these types of albums, the crux of the journey comes from the music carrying the message, because if that isn’t up to snuff, then no one is going to hear it often enough to unravel the insightful, compassionate ‘fable’ it contains. Thankfully, as with the first Steve Bonino Project blast into space, the answer is most definitely, affirmative captain.

Not too surprisingly given the subject matter, the key to that success comes form the atmospheres created and right from the off it’s clear that the melodies on this shimmering technical, sixties-pop infused progressive journey are the perfect craft to embark on such a complex journey. With pinging keys and confident guitars creating a base for hook laden vocals, that this set of songs comes replete with choruses that quickly become sing-along is an unexpected bonus. There’s a loose feel of Spock’s Beard without the obvious musical workouts - not that the musicianship isn’t top notch mind - as the symphonic prog of “Under The Dome” weaves from Steve Howe like guitar chimes to sumptuous layers of Genesis. However, it’s the joining pieces where more muted musical landscapes highlight the vocals - or even some spoken word parts - that the story fully unfolds and vitally, here too the nuances in “So Familiar”, “Codex” and “The Ancient Sumerian”, which even has a Beatles like trumpet motif, keep you tuned in. Although it doesn’t hurt that Bonino himself has an enigmatic, storytelling lilt to his vocal delivery that pulls you into the concept being built, while the arrangements really do allow the songs to shimmer and pop in all the right places.

The first part of The Steve Bonino Project’s Stargazer tale undoubtedly hit all the heights that it set out to. If anything part 2 might be even better, making it, so far, one of those undiscovered gems where you really should strap in and set your course for the stars…. and beyond.

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