maandag 1 juni 2015

Demo 4. Bongley Dead

Bongley Dead promo photo
Update on 13 June 2015. Today we received a link to the new video of Bongley Dead. The exciting Britpop meets rock opening song 'Where Are You? is set into an extremely private and colourful video. I do have a question though: What happened to the coffee?

This winter we reviewed 'Demo 3' by Italian punk and indie rockers Bongley Dead. Read all about it here: In the band's response to the review they announced its new demo. Recently we received the record and here's our review.

One of the first things I noticed on Demo 4 is a slight change in style. The band shifted its attention from a punkier kind of rock to a louder form of indie rock. It took me two spins and Bongley Dead's Demo 4 had me in the same spot as where it had me earlier this year with '3': a fan.

The trio spits out loads of energies again as the tempo is attractively high. The drumming is the dry power hitting like on 'Troublegum' by Therapy?, driving the songs onwards. Simone Pippi vitalizes them in an elementary, but also important way. Like rain in the desert and Ben Johnson on steroids. The drums are the absolute centre of Demo 4. Filling large spaces of the sound, busy and loud. Over it bass, guitar and voice can do their thing. What they do is not very original as such, I have to admit that, but sounds so good. Bongley Dead found its way into indie rock and came out with originals that are strong, fun and interesting.

On 'Demo 3' I wrote about the Britpop element in the music of Bongley Dead. This has been replaced in part by a heavier sound that creeps in the direction of Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam. Some grunge elements are certainly there. Luckily the band kept the melodies in place. An element in which I think the band is quite good at. A heavier sound mixed with melodies, there's no problem to keep my attention going at full speed.

Bongley Dead promo photo
Demo 4 kicks of with a crossing of Oasis at its wildest and Gem, because the voice of Marcello Rossi really resembles Maurits Westrik's in this song. This only goes for the chorus. QOTSA is the reference in the verses and solos. The isolated chords work well here, while the bass pumps away over the filler drums. The central riff in the chorus is Oasis again. This hybrid song reminds me the most of 'Demo 3', so the right opener after which Bongley Dead can expand.

And expand they do. If anything, Bongley Dead knows how to write a song. The songs always have the ideal continuation, not so much predictable, but exactly what my ears seem to want to hear next. That feeling of "yes, just right", comes over me quite a few times listening to Demo 4. The same goes for the way the guitar filling the space left over by the rhythm section. Filling is necessary when playing in a trio with music like this, but the melody always remains present in the storms of noise and ecstatic playing.

One of my favourite songs on Demo 4 is 'Feliciana'. Bongley Dead comes up with the song The Strokes were unable to write ever since the seventh song of 'Is this it'? Including the typical distorted singing à la Julian Casablancas. The melody lines are extremely strong in 'Feliciana'. Which, listening just this little better, is a hybrid of Britpop and indie rock in a perfect way. Bongely Dead really did it in this song, closing in on the perfect pop song. My guess is that guitarist Marcello Rossi is playing at the very edge of his abilities at the point of recording and succeeding.

Bongley Dead promo photo
The tempo goes down a bit after 'Feliciana'. In the 'Age of Dope' the band reaches another highlight. The song may be in mid-tempo, the energy is there as are the melodies. "Do I come or go?", Rossi sings. Definitely coming on route to more fame. When a band writes songs like this, attention should not remain far behind. It's all about finding people who can alert a larger audience to the existence of great music. The more up tempo song 'Silent Queen' holds all these musical surprises, a little shift in the time or a great change of chords, that again shows the ability of Bongley Dead to write a great song as a whole and keeping a close eye out for the details, while rocking out at the same time.

It all ends with the uptempo and fun 'Kidding on the Bencher' or does it? Again there's a hidden track at the end of Bongely Dead's album. A dark and brooding instrumental of over 5 minutes. This lets us hear a totally different side to the band. Song 10 gives an edge to Demo 4 that I did not see coming. Quite a surprise.

All this makes Demo 4 a more varied album than Demo 3 was. There's no merit in mere variety, there is in quality. Only then can variety heighten the quality of an album and that is exactly where Bongley Dead succeeded, totally. Gentlemen, I tip my hat to you. I just love it.


You can listen to Demo 4 here:

The video to 'Where Are You? can be seen here:

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