Possibly the most unique discovery we’ve made all year, Bonniesongs is the genre-shifting project of art-folk virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Stewart. A graduate in jazz performance on drums, Stewart is a musician in the truest sense, utilising her wide-ranging expertise to create music that traverses classical, folk, jazz and grunge, often in just one song. What’s most remarkable though is how much sense it all makes, the genre-shift arriving at just the right moment, the upping in speed coming exactly when required – Bonniesongs is a master of timing.
‘Frank’, the third single to be taken from her frankly brilliant debut ‘Energetic Mind,’ showcases this world in microcosm. Stewart begins by forewarning us about what’s on the horizon, singing perilously “I’m afraid the creature’s on its way / the thing is here to stay.” A percussive sound not unlike pees rolling in a closed container then appears, before, like the New Zealand haka, a voice chants “ha, ha, ha” over and over again. It’s uneasy, a lingering threat that hangs ominously in the atmosphere.
Stewart becomes a summoner of storms in the song’s conclusion, the instruments uniting as one to produce an intimidating grunge. Like an air-raid siren, a synth warning citizens of the monster’s impending arrival then sounds, engendering parents to gather their children. Stewart leaves us on a cliff-edge, not allowing the tension she wound up within us to dissipate. A filmic and multi-faceted epistolary.
Energetic Mind is out 6 September on Small Pond Recordings