• Alan Wayne

The Bonazzoli Band Puts a New Spin on a Classic Album

It’s not often that one catches lightning in a bottle twice; furthermore an offshoot of the same bolt. In this instance, I’m not referring to crazy weather stunts; rather, I am referring to the latest album from the unique multi genre outfit known as The Bonazzoli Band. Their album “Torqued: Supercharged Edition” features songs written 20 years ago by Matt and his former band Gearhead that have been given new life with the unique orchestrations and melodies that have made The Bonazzoli Band well revered and respected amongst their peers and fans around the world.

The album starts with the title track “Torqued”. A nice ethereal sounding open blends into the sound of an engine revving, so that one can almost smell the exhaust fumes if they close their eyes. This southern rock banger features a strong bassline, and is accompanied by Matt’s perfect blend of swoon and croon; almost an Elvis meets Alice Cooper vibe. A good driving song that kicks off the album well. The album winds into a nice soft sway with “Last Cool Single Girl,”, which to longtime Bonazzoli Band fans will hearken back to other releases such as “Quiet Little Towns”. The way The Bonazzoli Band utilizes their back up singers in concert with Matt Bonazzolis classic vocals gives the track an almost doo wop feel, adding to the versatlity of an album that features many different genres blended seamlessly into an musical storybook.

“True” continues the journey with an almost bluegrass style opening reminiscent of a humid night in the South, fireflies and all. The track transitions into a road rock anthem with strong guitar leads carrying a message of hope to the listener. “Driver” continues with the southern rock influence by adding a slide guitar. The song starts slow and sorrowful, then crescendos to a strong and hopeful climax at the end. This song typifies the cathartic effect music can have on ones soul. Listening to The Bonazzoli Band is like taking a journey through one’s emotions, the highs, lows, and all the matter in between.

“Lift” gives us an almost flamenco style guitar opening combined with a driving piano interlude. In this up tempo piece, Matt once again flexes his rock chops, unleashing a growling tone not seen from many who could also croon a love song that makes women melt in their seats. However, this is a rock song all the way, complete with a “Good Night Cleveland” style rock outro. “Back in the Day” is a longing song about times gone by, a Bonazzoli specialty. With Matt’s smooth bluster and the upbeat punk staccato feel of the song, it’s as if The Misfits decided to lower their volume and add a piano. Frankly, I’ve always wondered what would happen if Matt Bonazzoli fronted a punk band, and felt he could fill in for Danzig if pressed and nobody would be upset. The doo wop vibe of the excellent backup vocalists only adds to my theory.

The Bonazzoli Band Circa 2017

“Dreaming Through New England” is easily my favorite track on this release. The harmonies and melodies transport one to a brisk fall day, trees with orange and brown leaves on either side of the road ensconced by an overcast sky. The song takes one on a journey similar to “California Dreamin” through depression, regret, and longing for warmer climes. “Pale Blue Moon” will delight fans of ragtime and jazz from the beginning, then lead into a progression that hearkens back to The Stray Cats. Matt’s voice once again is reinvented on this track, at times sounding somewhat like a Snideley Whiplashian villian complete with spooky harmonies. “Haunted Road” continues this musical journey through a dark forest as a strong straight ahead rock song and what sounds like a Theremin accompaniment only accentuating the spook factor and giving depth and breadth to the song. “Happy To See You Again” is a return to form for the Bonazzoli Band, with a smooth consistently classic sound accented by brushes and maracas and a sweet piano interlude. This track above all others showcases the vocals that led me once to say that Matt Bonazzoli is the Roy Orbison of this generation. The final song, “Driver: End Theme” perfectly caps off an album bursting with blended sounds and genres by giving us a post rock cinematic piece of epic music with multiple strings and synths combining to create a bittersweet conclusion to a varied, fun, and extremely good album.

“Torqued” takes the listener on a musical journey, tells a story, and leaves the listener feeling as if they’ve ridden shotgun on an amazing audio road trip!

To purchase the album “Torqued” go to https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thebonazzoliband5

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