Featuring a collection of award-winning artists from around the world, Bongo Boy Records Vol. XXII is an open-genre affair filled with various musical styles, including (but not limited to) Rock, R&B, Pop, and Hip Hop. Is Bongo Boy Records’ latest collection of refreshing talent as affecting as its formative releases? It is, and the following roster makes it so:
BBR Vol. XXII kicks off with “The Kreyol Song” from Lavender Blues. With toe-tapping electronic percussion and several voices carrying us through recurring verses, “The Kreyol Song” is almost like a work anthem sung to inspire when monotony weighs the spirit.
“Where are The NEW Bardots,” you ask? Why, they’re right here with track #2, “Policy of Truth.” With weathered and genuinely aching vocals, parallelling horns and guitars, and Earth-crust-rumbling drums, this is another classic, down and dirty rock track from one of Big Boy Records’ preeminent acts.
Track #3 features The L&M Project Band with “Dancin’ With Myself (feat. Jenna G).” This is great, grooving, unpretentious rock/funk with some big band punctuation. And have I mentioned I loooove the voice? It’s punk, it’s personable, and it’s confident. The vocalist (Jenna G?) sings without oversinging, and hits every note with graceful attitude.
Track #4, “Dreaming Under the Sun” by Jose Calarco, is a rough-and-tumble little rock song constructed with guitars and piano. But that “rough-and-tumble” exterior gives way to something a little more dreamy and spacious when soft staccato strings elevate the chorus – this was an interesting change I wasn’t expecting, and surprises are always welcome.
“Anxiety” by Karen Harding starts with digital, delayed bubbles accompanying this nearly acapella performance. With occasional electronic hits and sparks, Harding sings with a lilting, impoverished heart.
“You” by ARTIC BABA features a vocalist who sounds like a young, perhaps more shy Michael Jackson. Well, at least until the chorus, and then she brings the power – the guitars kick in, and she’s belting it out over the band’s aggressive fuzz. Good stuff, and again, an unexpected surprise.
STUDEO enters the room by kicking down the door, and does so with ironically titled track “Silence.” Beginning with a big guitar riff, this solid rock track restrains itself for the verse, but comes back to devastate more unsuspecting entryways with the chorus. Now, this isn’t a super-heavy, head-bashing track, but I believe the overall volume is a little louder than previous tracks, so it surprised me (i.e., scared me) when the first note body-slammed my earbuds. And no, that’s not a bad thing.
Arthur Jae presents “My Valentine” – a modern R&B track with tasteful electronic groove and Jae’s weightless, nimble voice weaving adroitly between every sustained and glowing piano strike. If your partner is there while “My Valentine” plays, you’ll be holding hands after the chorus.
Boys’N’Barry follow up with “Crazy Mad in Love.” This is a fun, almost sock-hop-inspired song with early 60s vibes and subtle Doo-wop leanings. It’s charged, charming, and very catchy.
Clark Ford (feat. Underground Treehouse) contributes one of his jazzy compositions with “I’ve Been Waiting for You.” Taken from his latest album, Meant To Be (reviewed here by yours truly), this track features exceptional male and female vocals; a very well-sung discussion between two very happy lovers.
Wrapping things up is Gar Francis with “And Your Bird Can Sing” – an upbeat blues-rocker featuring passionate, sandy vocals. With palpable power and raw, road-hardened delivery, there’s a very good chance I’m bobbing my head while typing this.
So, is it good?
Yep, and every track is its own unique delight. Sure, I have a few preferences, but overall, this is another strong collection of various artists from Bongo Boy Records.
BELOW: Listen to Bongo Boy Records Vol. XXII and check them out on several available social channels, and of course, their website. Please support Bongo Boy Records and their artists by playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!