Words About Music
Bonjour Machines “Level Up!”
I’ve talked before about great music being made my teenagers. And not just in the underground either; some of the biggest pop stars in the world aren’t even old enough to drink. But we’re not talking about pop music today. Today we’re talking about an Israeli emo/math-rock trio (formerly a four-piece) called Bonjour Machines, whose members are all, get this, 14 and 15 years old. That’s right, high school sophomores are better at their instruments than you are.
Inspired by bands such as Snowing, The Dismemberment Plan, Cloud Nothings, and La Dispute, Bonjour Machines make some energetic, upbeat emo that twinkles in the best ways. They put out their debut self-titled EP earlier this year, and just released this album, their debut full-length, on their Bandcamp page.
While some people hear “teenage band members” and automatically think some derivative form of knock-off-rock-n’-roll, don’t think for a second that Bonjour Machines are just a slightly younger Black Keys. Because not only are they great for their age, they’re great for ANY age. It’s just great music, which is only made more impressive when you learn how old they are.
The group is led by singer/guitarist/bassist Ilai Ashdot, whose scratchy singing voice is still showing some signs of puberty, but is nonetheless full of raw emotion. Guitarist Omri Keren brings some soft yet impressively complex riffs that help give these songs a ton of structure. The group is rounded out by drummer Barak Surian whose playing is subtle yet masterful, and he weaves in and out of time signatures with the greatest of ease.
Not only are these songs well played, but they’re also very well written. Say what you will about Ilai’s singing voice (assuming you have any complaints at all) but he can write a chorus that will without a doubt stick in your head. But don’t be fooled by the catchy choruses, the lyrics are those of a soul whose heart’s been broken one too many times. Definitely take a look at the lyrics if you get the chance, because some of them are hard to catch on the first few listens.
“Level Up!” is not only a great emo album from Israeli teenagers. It’s not only a great emo album from teenagers. It’s not only a great emo album. It’s a great album in general. It’s fun to listen to, but also extremely sad and quite a bit heartbreaking. The lyrics are profound, the instrumentation is magnificent, and it’s just a brilliant debut album. I cannot wait to hear more music from these guys, because they’re going places.
GRADE – 9.0
FAVORITE TRACKS – You Did It!; Challenger; Garden Level/Double Hills; Runs the 2000; With My Chin Up And My Expectations Down; Band, Disband!; 2012