PEACE ROCKS – Steve Bonino. CD review by Robert Craven.

Tony Floyd Kenna | February 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

‘Peace Rocks’ by Steve Bonino

Review by Robert Craven.

Here is a song writer who understands the three minute hero concept. This is a fine CD, each track, cleanly produced and Bonino is a multi-instrumentalist, steeped in the best tradition of American AOR with the necessary edge to lift it out of being mundane. The tracks have been mastered by Armando Cepeda, with Bonino doing all the main and backing vocals. Other musicians credited are: Pascale Ella (additional vocals, track 6), Greg Hilfman (keyboards, track 4), Jimmy Keegan and Mike Lewis drums, Dave Meros (bass, track 1) and Matt Waldrum (electric guitar, track 8). Steve is from Manhattan, New York, USA.
  • #1 Peace March opens with a funky riff played on synth, with guitars and clever off beats with a straight forward hook with a Hammond Organ backing, which stops dead into a military reville and a Marine style chant – short and sharp which leads straight into -
  • #2 Wake up call – This has a funky opening  then sits on a solid rock riff before the chorus kicks in. A  deceptively complex piece, reminiscent of the big stadium sounds of the 1970’s – Styx, Foreigner and Boston with clever use of dyanmics throughout.
    #3 GodSexMoney – is a total gem; Bonino understands the great rock sound – good vocals and hooks throughout – this, his voice sounds like Bon Jovi, but with more guts. It has a raw energy with a clean Todd Rundren feel to the guitars. The guitar solo is simple, effective and unfussy. This could easily have been a Queen anthem.
    # 4 – Construction – a sequencer start fed through an amplifier, followed by a solid bass hook which leads into a great guitar riff leading into the chorus – and sparse keyboard solo. This has a post David Lee Roth Van Halen feel and again Bonino’s vocals have a stadium feel. ‘How are you going to build the world without love?’ Lou Gramm would approve!
    #5 – Personal Revolution – has a serious Nile Rodgers guitar style opening before kicking into the hook with perfect multi-track vocal harmonies. Bass is played off the beat along with the synths creating a tension before the chorus release.  The clever time changes and Kansas-style ‘Wayward Son’ harmonies don’t detract from the music or the sheer verve of the performance.
    #6 – Dyin’ for love – Double axe opening and tight bass, this has a Wishbone Ash feel, driving drums and Bonino’s vocals remind me here of Prince, he has a great feel for melody along with the call/response for the song. Dynamics are well handled and he knows when to take the song down, before bringing it back up. The guitar playing and solo is reminiscent of Alex Lifeson, everything driving along nice and tight to the very end. The song ends on the double axe groove with the bass playing the riff on the high register.
    #7 – Rose coloured glasses – clean, stripped down guitars accompany Bonino’s vocal harmonies – along the lines of Steven Stills and David Cosbie, less than 2 minutes long, it leads into the big ballsy -
    #8 – Big Brother – stomping groove with Bonino’s vocals weaving in and out of it. The hook in the middle is stripped down allowing the main riff to kick in hard for the verse. His vocal range and dynamics are at their best here – reminiscent of Marc Bolan and Bowie – in fact this track would be right at home on ‘Scary Monsters’ – ‘ who needs enemies with friends like you?’
    #9 – True North – real Californian rock opening, and a wonderful song – there’s an open-top mustang route 66 feel to this – I can’t help hearing Peter Frampton here, with a memorable riff, tight bass and drums, a wonderful, upbeat song. The chorus is excellent, with shades of Lyndsey Buckingham on the high notes. Like every part of this album, the guitar solos are clean, unfussy, well thought out and well executed.
    #10 – Will the world mourn? – Acoustic guitar opening, and Bonino’s vocals are melodic, a deeper version of Jon Anderson, with the background harmonies like the Mormon Tabernacle choir. Drums are pared back and clip the song along. The production here is again flawless, nothing is wasted on any part of this album, every vocal, instrument works as a cohesive whole and this track captures all the best elements working here. For me, the best track on the album.
    #11 – Paradise Lost – bass and guitars open with a Robert Palmer style vocal lead. The whole piece kicks in with slide guitar accompanying. This is a straight-no chaser rock song that gradually builds into a Bad Company – style guitar solo. No-nonse rock, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
    #12 – Peace, Love, Truth, Love and understanding – The Eagle’s ‘Life in the fast lane’ style opening is followed by Bonino’s pared-back vocals. The riff is used effectively for the chorus, before it is brought back down.
    This is a fine song that finishes off a very, very fine album – a joy to listen to from start to finish – get your wayfarers on, take down the vinyl roof and hit cruise control along the highway. Bliss.
  • :)
  • Reviewed by Robert Craven.
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    Category: CD Reviews