Hmmm…this one’s a little tough. At first instance in pushing play, I know this is ‘outside’ my particular genres of choice…so I’ve got to throw my objectivity-hat on here and mine this new music from The Bombay Blue Notes for personal relevance in moments that speak to me. That being said, the gift of objectivity in music-journalism provides me with the ability to hear something I like in virtually everything I stumble across. Let’s face it – we ALL put our hearts and souls into what we create…and there’s nothing more inspiring to me than the human spirit rising to take hold of their moment.
Besides…whether or not I like something or not in any of my reviews is nearly irrelevant if you were to ask me – what IS important is that I can hear whether or not YOU like the music you make, whether or not you’re putting everything into it, and that the love and enthusiasm for your songs has an audible tangibility. There’s no exception here – The Bombay Blue Notes certainly have that electrified-energy in the set of songs that made the line-up for this new album, Face The Pain.
The playing is pretty sick as well – listen to the opening of “Wanderlust,” and you’ll definitely get an idea for the depth of skill in instrumentation here. Overall, this was the track that started to bring me around to the sound of The Bombay Blue Notes as well…this is a truly inventive track within the rock genre. It’s a mover for sure, has a ton of energy, great harmonies and creative vocal filters swirling around some incredibly rockin & crunchy guitars. The female backing vocals of The Bombay Blue Notes really deserves a ton of credit as she really balances out the main-vox through the harmonies and beautiful tone in her voice.
That being said…I keep coming back to this one thought…and that is, ‘if Alice In Chains and Bon Jovi were to join forces, would it sound like this?’ You can take that comment for what it is, there’s a unique combination of a slightly grunge-style rock backing against an older-school vocal sound. Opening track “Deadlock,” and “What’s In My Dreams,” started me down that path of comparison, and again, initially my reaction was that it might not work for me; but as Face The Pain played on, tracks like “Bombay Blues” proved to me that there’s a lot more going on in The Bombay Blue Notes than you might think right off the bat in those first moments of pushing play. Absolutely perfect rap-verse thrown into this song, a little less rasp in the main vocals smooths this out well as the harmonies between the male & female singing comes together better than it has at any point on the album so far. Another track really designed to make your body move and make even the biggest dance-floor grump bump & shake his rump, even just a little.
“Face The Pain,” the titular track brings in the dark funk with opening vocals that sound like they were buried six-feet under alive, given a microphone and a tiny straw for an air-hole. It comes through menacingly growling and really fits this track well…it gives it this epic nature that a title-track deserves. Excellent vocals in this one, incredible guitar solos and fantastic samples; again the rasp is traded in for more tone and confidence on the mic and the result is definitely one of the more creative and diverse tunes on Face The Pain.
Wait a minute…what’s this? “The Magic In Your Smile.” Here it is. This is MY moment….
In the largest departure musically, the rock-edge of The Bombay Blue Notes is exchanged for a playful pop melody so sweet the hardest heart of stone would crack just to let it in. It’s simple, it’s melodic & sweet…I absolutely LOVE the horns added into this song. This song is a surefire indication that The Bombay Blue Notes haven’t committed fully to a single sound or genre and are unafraid to test the waters with other styles. I can certainly tell you definitely, this particular one worked very well for me. I’m a sucker for a genuine, heartfelt pop-song…and the authenticity on this one got to me, big time.
Innovatively, they carry on into the final track, an electro & strings-infused, atmospherically-rich, vibrant track called “Sunrise To Sunset.” Again, it’s a lot less on the rock, and more of a concentrated effort on tone and melodic, challenging songwriting. This final track comes together extremely well with all the amazing parts getting their own individual chance to shine in the spotlight of the song, mixing and production overall.
But wait! There’s more! We’ve got access to a real gem that hasn’t been put out publicly yet, but we’re sure that’s bound to change. “Where Did You Go,” the unofficial ninth track from Face The Pain as of yet is one absolute frenzy of electro-rock bliss. I can’t imagine this incredibly hook-laden track will be kept in the vault for too long, it’s certainly not a B-side!
What can I say? Throughout this listening experience from the opening track to the final bonus track here, my experience with The Bombay Blue Notes and their music showed a steady incline, track after track and ended on an extremely high note on Face The Pain, leaving me with a distinct feeling that, ‘yes…yes in fact I WOULD like to hear more from this inventive band.’
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