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The Steve Bonino Project: Stargazer

Multi-instrumentalising singer Steve Bonino knows we are neglecting our planet and will be its ultimate doom. With his band Bomber Goggles and their excellent album Gyreland Bonino shone an ever warmer ray of blazing sun on the issues of plastic waste and, amongst other things, the impact it is having on the oceans of our earth. Here, in the first of two Stargazer albums from his Steve Bonino Project, mankind has destroyed the earth beyond habitation and we’re now headed out to the stars to find our new home. It may be a concept that we’ve become somewhat familiar with in recent years, but Bonino starts us off in a different place - our feet firmly planted on the earth as it withers and dies. The main protagonist of this tale, Stargazer, relives his wondrous star gazing childhood but as reality bites in, so the inky black becomes more foreboding and yet more hopeful.

Putting such a dense concept piece to music must have been a mammoth task but one Bonino and his Project mates - Böhn on guitars and Bingo Brown on drums - have attacked with full thrusters on. Varied and ever evolving passages of sounds allowed to roam hither and thither while somehow still coming together in a cohesive and thoroughly exciting way. What’s maybe most surprising is the poppy rock feel to everything, for while this album veers from the 60s trumpets and beats of the Beatles on “Phoenix Rising”, so it also stings with biting guitar solos, lulls with lush keyboards and booms with bossing bass. Mainly, however, the two main aspects that run though this album are the clever and involved story telling as we search for an abode in the hope of forging the species’ new path and the fact that each of these intricate cuts live and breathe in a way that has you singing along as you root for the main character. The likes of “Earth 2” romps into something that a punked up Talking Heads might have called their own had they formed 20 year earlier, while the divergent harmonies and deep groove of “Under The Red Dwarf Sun” doesn’t quite know whether to be David Bowie or Masters Of Reality. Whichever proves closer to the truth, the results are stick in the mind unforgettable.

Occasionally there are characterful narratives where spoken word keeps us in check of exactly where we’re headed (for the stars!) and whether through the mid-era King Crimson like “It’s In Our Blood” or the almost Soul Asylum melancholy with a Styx chorus of “The Dream Lives On” they do an excellent job of joining together what in the wrong hands could have been an overly divergent selections of sounds.

The one warning with Stargazer is that initially there’s an awful lot to take in and it can all feel a little dazzling and daring. However, it’s easy to quickly get past that early stumbling block as the standard and arresting nature of both the music and the storyline take hold. Stargazer is quite the achievement, leaving me hankering for more. Thankfully part 2 is already out there…. somewhere….

Track Listing
1. Stargazer
2. The Celestial Show
3. Written In The Stars
4. Telescope
5. It's In Our Blood
6. Dark Matter
7. Phoenix Rising
8. Earth 2
9. In The Darkness
10. Phoenix Descending
11. Under The Red Dwarf Sun
12. On A New World
13. 20 Years Later
14. The Dream Lives On
15. Through The Eyes Of A Child
16. Nova

Added: December 26th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Stargazer on bandcamp
Hits: 429
Language: english

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