Strap on your guitar and sober up, we’re going for another spin.
Bar-room lyrics, check. Catchy, riff based songs, check. Long hair, acres of denim and a love of late nights and even later women, almost definitely. This is a list that, to some, may seem an imposing, clichéd inventory needed to write a stereotypical rock band comedy/mockumentary. But rock n roll isn’t anything complicated and this list has stood the test of time, like those who have adhered to it. And so do Bonafide, the latest champions of the down and dirty to come from Sweden’s Nordic shores.
When Sweden is mentioned, most here in the UK would automatically and rather imperialistically think of Volvo and, unfortunately, ABBA. So it is with great relief and pleasure that the latest in a long line of young pretenders to the blood stained, amp shaped throne of hard rock champions comes in the form of Bonafide. Having paid their dues all over Europe and a subsequent UK tour in December, Bonafide bring with them a back catalogue of proven song writing ability, excellent sound and a dedication to an art form that has seen a relative renaissance in the past half decade.
Their 2009 album Something’s Dripping, a wonderfully graphic and balls to the wall title, is a standout combination of a group who are plying their trade in what could be mildly described as a hostile environment. Indeed, it would seem that the fun and lavish rock and roll excesses of the past half century have been long forgotten since 2000 rolled around and the music industry became a place of factory (definitely not Factory Records) produced starlets hell bent on fifteen seconds of fame.
Thus with an album like Something’s Dripping, Bonafide and their contemporaries bring a much needed injection of light heartedness and relaxed throw back into a scene dominated by innocuous glitter and pre-fab. There is nothing more gut-bustingly wonderful than tracks titled like “A Shot of You,” “Butt You Up” and “Fill Your Head with Rock.” All of these songs incidentally are not only excellent hard rock but perfect examples of the musicianship, song writing and top tier production that Bonafide have behind them.
The lyrics, “You think you’re God almighty, like you own the show/ I’m gonna be there laughing at you, you’re Dirt Bound,” taken from the album’s opening track “Dirt Bound” more than exemplify this band’s intentions. Following the hard rock formula of simple riff, throaty vocals and an unrelenting percussion, “Dirt Bound” has the makings of crowd pleasing anthem but also carries with it the grandeur and statement of intent of the band and their sound as a whole.
This is a group of rockers, plain and simple, no frills, toe tapping blues-based music that feels refreshingly new and familiar all at once. The theme of us Vs them is concurrent throughout the whole album, Something’s Dripping’s tracks slipping seamlessly together, one high paced track after the other in a rapid, machine gun paced trip of eleven tracks designed as a protest and assault on anything else you’ve heard this year.
Rebellion is what rock music is all about and this is the finest form. There are no hidden messages, no complicated sub themes or parable like analogies to set fire to message boards across the Internet. You will not be able to play the album in concurrence with classic movies like The Wizard of Oz or Blade Runner because there is nothing needlessly complicated or self indulgently artistic and ambiguous about this music. It’s hard working, hard sounding, excellent rock and roll that everybody can enjoy.
With an array of recent bands trying their hand at this style of music, Airbourne, The Answer, The Treatment and Rival Sons to name four, it seems there is still a contingency of musicians out there willing to make music that echoes a golden age of recent memory. As the world continues to become progressively digital and the medium of music is more accessible, high hopes rest on Bonafide, and the others, to keep us rocking all night and partying every day.
The band’s official website has all tour dates, availability and discography for your viewing pleasure: http://www.bonafiderocks.com