Finn Bonel “Spectral Songs”

Independent, 2021

A worthy downer folk collection that flattens the spirits nicely.

Louche, stoner-esque , psych-folk is served up piping lukewarm (in a good way) by South Londoner Finn Bonel. Beck Hansen is a significant influence here; that much is fair to say.  And it’s a comfortably numb soundtrack to the winter-frozen, locked down, fascist uprising world that 2021 heralds. There’s nothing strident here; second gear is barely engaged, as the songs burble along and through a listener’s ears and mind.  Lyrically there are touches of Waits and Dylan (particularly in ‘Poor Jenny’) amongst the death and despair. Bonel’s smoother vocal tones soften the jagged story deliveries into that of a dejected observer, rather than an angered activist (Dylan), or the psychotic central character that is Waits.

An extremely wobbly sounding organ adds a Procul Harem, pastoral pop vibe into the hazey vapours rising from Bonel’s song collection. The production and arrangement here is excellent. Bonel co-produced the record with Andy Ramsay (Stereolab). Opener ‘Desolation Overture’ sets the listener off on a steady path of comforting hopelessness. The aforementioned wobbly organ, keys and doomy fuzz guitar blend and flow freely. ‘Sundown’ is a little light(er), Beck like musing.  ‘Lucky Old Sun’ is a sweet, simple acoustic ballad with classic Faces/Stewart vibes. A little bit of a departure, thematically, from the record, but we can forgive it given the song’s quality. Closing the collection is ‘Spectral Song’, an instrumental in slow waltz-time. It’s striking in its quality and near beauty, no end of album makeweight at all. This is a fine collection.

8/10
8/10

About Mark Nenadic 88 Articles
Quite likes music. Doesn't really like people. From The North. Exiled in The Midlands due to radical views on whippets/flat caps. Beards and plaid shirts belong on Willie Nelson. Everybody else should smarten up a bit ..

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