Bonson Berner evolved from the remnants of Siga la Flecha (Follow the Arrow) – an eclectic project that started in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lisandro Aloi – Pato(under the pseudonyms Bonson Berner and Masmore Larueda for SLF) – managed to release and perform music or dj regularly while working as an architect in his own established firm and teaching architecture at the University of Palermo.
Enlisting the talents of various local artists; Siga la Flecha enjoyed a string of diverse achievements – such as being released by the major Arg DBNrecords, playing international festivals, television features, and appearing in the soundtracks of two feature films: Death Club – by James Merendino who directed SLCpunk, where Pato, Emanuel Manso and JM composed a few tunes together, Paranoids (Oscilloscope – Aeroplano) by argentinian director Gabriel Medina.
The name Bonson Berner, evokes the way that ‘Bunsen burner’ sounds when an Argentine says it loud – and it worked as a metaphor for what Aloi was doing; for he was an Argentine singing out loud. Bonson Berner began to perform live in the west – they played Las Vegas Adult Swim Carnival Tour, they were invited to The Whisky, The Roxy, and other LA venues – while constantly producing new music and clips.
The album, Passport, is the long-awaited conclusion to Bonson Berner’s musical experiment. Aloi has compared recording an album to making a building and telling a story. Now based in Los Angeles, Bonson Berner’s fired-up indie rock displays the skills of Lisandro Aloi, synth player Diego Cuevas, bassist Gustavo Limon and drummer Blair Shotts.
Passport is a phenomenal indie rock album. I have never listened to an album over and over as much as this one, without getting bored for one moment. Aloi’s rich baritone voice, the drums, the guitar, the arc of each song, not to mention the wonderfully metaphoric lyrics without a cliche to be found, are all made to deeply wow the listener.
If all artists took their albums as seriously as this one, where every song is excellent, purposeful, and well placed, maybe the making of albums wouldn’t be such a dying art. Until a while back I was somewhat despondent about the state of rock music. Relatively little exciting new music was being produced compared with previous decades. But the past few years has seen an explosion of some really great bands from all over the planet, not merely from around the U.S. and England, but in every area of Europe and, as in the case of Bonson Berner, even with Argentinian roots.
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One thing that marks nearly every song on the Passport is the wonderful way that Bonson Berner employ contrasts. Most songs build in stages and layers, to a glorious, powerful crescendo. Many of the songs have a kind of majesty that tons of heavy metal bands, for instance, strive for, but rarely achieve. The one thing, however, that sets Bonson Berner apart from many of the current indie rock bands is that they have a very powerful, dynamic rhythm section. I love the Pixies, but they submerge the rhythm section in their music. In Bonson Berner, despite all of the musical meanderings, the drums and bass propel the song forward, and in the many songs where the tension and tempo build, they always lead the charge. Just listen to “Running Days” and observe how the rhythm section controls the atmosphere of the song. Not to mention that the video in support of “Running Days” is equally as brilliant in its conception as well as in its execution.
But the album has a whole lot more to offer, besides the opening single. The propulsive and adrenalin-driven “Energy”, the Doors influenced, bluesy-sounding, “Painted Stone In The Floor”. The reggae-ska tinged “Contemplate”, or my personal favorite “Can’t Be Without You”.
I love albums that draw you in, like a spider to a web.You listen through once, a few songs hit you. You find yourself playing them in your head all day long. You listen again, different songs start to come to life. Soon, it becomes a go-to listen in the car, at home, at work and during a walk on the iPod!
“Passport” by Bonson Berner is such an album. There are different things to find, but there is depth, complexity, and always more to discover. Simply Awesome…and its out for download now!
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