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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Bonne Finken

Fairytales / Loveaffairs

Review by Gary Hill

Bonne Finken’s music is hard to categorize. A lot of it lands pretty close to modern pop music. Still, there is a lot of variance there, too. Not everything is fully successful as far as I’m concerned, but a few songs are amazing. The vocals (and the whole concept in some ways) remind me of artists like Kate Bush and Tori Amos, but also of Dolores O'Riordan. No matter how you hear this in terms of genre or concepts, there is some quality about it that demands attention. It’s compelling stuff.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Fall

This rocker has a lot of modern pop sound in the mix. The vocals are angry and powerful. It’s a strong tune and a good way to start the set.

Absence of Fear
Although I’m not a huge fan of this style of electronic modern music, this cut is even stronger than the previous one. It’s packed with power and emotion and is just an awesome number. It has mellower moments and really rocking ones.
Step Back Baby
This is even more set in a modern pop rock style. It does have an emphasis on the rock end of that equation, though. Taken by itself, it’s pretty great. It’s just that it tends to feel a bit too much like the first track.      
I'mnotwaiting
From the strong to the sublime, this powerful tune is worth the price of admission by itself. There is a captured power here. It’s modern, but it’s also classic. It’s got a pounding, moving arrangement and some killer musical textures.
Isaiah
A piano and vocal based ballad, this is powerful. The vocal arrangement is packed with beauty and emotion. The whole piece is just so compelling. It’s another highlight of the set.
Gone (feat. Jerry Lorenson)
This definitely feels like the kind of thing that would be all over pop radio these days. It’s got a lot of emotional meat in the vocal deliveries, though. It’s another powerful piece, really.
Please
Here is another tune that takes a modern pop musical element and turns it into something really special. The vocal performance is what makes this successful.             
Magic
This time the trite, pop music arrangement sinks the ship. The vocals work pretty hard to try to save this piece, but the weight of an over produced, electronic pop arrangement just pulls it all the way down.  
Say You Do
Now, this is more like it. It’s a powerful pop rocker that alternates between a mellower arrangement and a more rocking one. It’s another that’s very evocative.   
Hang On
The keyboards on this bring some progressive rock to the table. The guitar has some tasteful soloing, too. I love the fast paced vocal section later. This is another standout cut. It’s another that’s worth the ticket price all by itself. This has some of the most rocking vocals, too.
Let's Play
This is an unusual piece. Parts of it make me think of the electronic music Kraftwerk creates. Other parts are almost jazz. Yet, it also rocks like crazy. There are some proggy elements here, too. It’s not as powerful as some of the other stuff, but it’s definitely interesting.    
My Heart
A very progressive rock oriented piece, this is another powerful one. The multi-layered vocal arrangement is stellar. The whole piece is just magical in so many ways.
Boyfriend
This ballad is good, but not really one of the highlights here. The vocals manage to convey emotion in their telling. It’s just that there is too much stellar material here for this to stand tall in comparison.
The Underground Kind
It would be an easy thing to call this an electronic, dance music kind of number. That would be only so accurate, though. Sure, those elements do dominate, but this has a lot of oddities to it. It’s not the best piece here, by a long shot, but the unusual nature of it makes it work.
 
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