Detroit band Bonny Doon pairs breezy execution with a strong emotional undertow. Info/tix
Detroit's Bonny Doon write lyrics that are as unrestrained and relaxed as Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo's meandering, charmingly detached guitar lines. The words themselves are earnest at their core, but Lennox's vocal delivery also gives the songs a feeling of breezy acceptance. On "Lost My Way," from the band's self-titled 2017 debut LP, Lennox sings about being off-track and out of place: "Where do I belong, what should I believe, who have I become, do I even recognize me?" But delivered with a carefree, almost confident tone, the line only lifts the listener up. The music itself is gently buoyant as well: Throughout this album, Bonny Doon filled out its songs with organ whirls, a range of production styles, and a mix of Felt-like jangle with a bare-bones country vibe.
One wouldn't necessarily peg Bonny Doon for a band of restless experimenters when listening to this debut—it's a substantial release that feels comfortable in its particular sonic pocket. But on this year's Longwave, Bonny Doon home in on a stripped-down, minimalistic sound that puts the songwriting at dead center. Released at the end of March, Longwave rolls the summer out slowly, with an anticipation that still captures a whiff of the last cold, rainy days. On "I Am Here (I Am Alive)," a simple guitar line sneaks in out of nowhere, not quite aligned with the song's vocal melodies, but it echoes the hint of contentment in the lyrics—"I just want to be where I'm going." Spaced-out steel guitar swells in and out of the mix, while Jake Kmiecik's rustic yet almost new-wave, mid-tempo drum pattern rests underneath—a satisfying backbone Bonny Doon follow throughout this album. —Emili Earhart