- the beauty of its simplicity
- it's ability to move you through emotions
- Oh, this is awkward, there's nothing we didn't like.
When a single Springtime week brings us the solitude of snow, the warm of a long-lost sun’s return, and the delicate breeze of a brisk wind that rumbles through like tumbleweed moves away from a freakish breakdown of the Ozone and into a state of normality, you’d imagine the soundtrack to it would be one of chaos; an erratic mess of sounds that come and go, exploding left, right, and centre as your ears die in confusion. Instead, its soundtrack lies in the melancholic melodies of a lo-fi indie outfit on an alt-country pilgrimage through sunset coasts and lakeside cabins.
Removing themselves from the lo-fi fuzz of their eponymous debut released less than a year ago, Longwave is a much more minimalistic affair for Detroit’s BONNY DOON, who dabble as much in alt-country as they do in dream-pop. Few songwriters encapsulate the essence of the enjoyment of a sunset within the structural constraints of a song and yet throughout Longwave’s 41 minutes and 10 tracks, BONNY DOON curate the soundtrack to the sunset you long to see, taking you on a journey of self-discovery where emotions change as often and as unpredictably as the aforementioned weather.
BONNY DOON’s chief songwriters Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo wash away the jadedness of their self-titled in favour for the gentleness of the sea when the waves are nothing but a concept and the freedom of a sky fading into the colour of shimmering bricks, minimalistic rhythms circulate and repeat, warping your mind as much as it wraps its melody around it. Opener Long Wave plucks away gently, its short vocal play coming and going, washed away in the tide of a sequence of string-heavy guitar work, simple notes on slide guitars sliding through the spaces in the rhythm. Elsewhere on shorter numbers such as the stolen-from-the-70’s slice of alt-country pie Where Do You Go? and the Atlas-era Real Estate-ripping dream-pop of Try To Be soak into your skin, staining it like the sun it wishes to emulate.
Longwave is a beautiful record musically, and thematically it is a masterful display of doing a lot with a little, letting the simplicity of the music carry the charm of the words through a delicate lo-fi delivery that often or not gets nearly lost in the mix, the beauty of it all shining through. There is a vulnerability in the lyrics that wasn’t there before, as if the scene in which they’re creating is allowing them to open up, and on tracks like the standout I Am Here (I Am Alive), BONNY DOON display an art for song-writing long lost on this generation. Charm and wit wrap around melancholic reflection, the vulnerability of the lyrics locking in with the simplicity of the sounds they swoon over: “Me, yeah I’m a track with no train, I’m a cat with no name, sleeping through my dreams.”
Often or not albums as compellingly beautiful as Longwave are overlooked, fillers in a playbook of playlists, background fodder for summer BBQ’s where impressing your one musical friend is a secondary goal, and yet it is increasingly difficult to ignore the power of peacefulness provided through the minimalist approach to rhythmic structures present on this record that becomes inordinately more prevalent with each listen.
On Longwave, Bonny Doon have given us the songs for our summer nights spent cuddling up and drinking with our special someone’s by the lakes of our life, letting beautiful music seep into beautiful views, forgetting all of our worries for a moment, enjoying the simplicity of life stripped-back.