July 17, 2016

Bonfires – A Reason To Get Home

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Bonfire’s A Reason To Get Home marks the Chicago natives first release of 2016. This release is also the first to feature Brad Harvey as the bands leading front man.

If you ever followed my reviews and editorials, you’d know I am a huge fan of Bonfires. The unique blend of Zech Pluister’s raspy vocals paired with the delicate pop-punk tunes of their first release from 2014 hit home for me on many levels. The band has since added more energy and punk to their recent releases that have garnered quite a following in the local scene. Since the departure of Pluister, I can safely say that none of the magic has been lost since with A Reason To Get Home.

The EP begins with “Untitled,” a beautifully crafted ambient track that even fans of Explosions In The Sky would enjoy. It’s a joyous departure from the usual Bonfire grittiness that comes crashing into your ears with “Walls.” The transition feels jarring at first. The stark contrast of the peaceful atmosphere to the quick lightly distorted guitar and harsh vocals of Harvey takes a little getting used to. Nearly 8 seconds later the track regains the same warmness found in the tone of the opener. The chorus drags you in and begs you to sing along. It’s arguably the best chorus they’ve produced yet. “Sympathy” uses familiar guitar picking found in the band’s early days. It’s a reminder that despite some change, this is still very much Bonfires.

“Nevermind” & “Colorblind” keep the prog-rock vibes going with more amiable guitar work and playful choruses.

A Reason To Get Home is a glorified 4-track EP that safely and firmly establishes the path Bonfires will take in the future. Elements of pop-punk are still present but lay dormant in favor of a more progressive-rock dynamic. This shift is executed with a lot of confidence as each track glides by more ambient guitar licks and concise drumming from Kevin Provencher. The songwriting is stronger despite being less relatable. A Reason To Get Home tells a series of self-destructive stories that are gripping to hear from start to finish. Kyle Grzejka’s bass notes rumbles through each track and linger in all the right places. The music feels tighter and more in-sync than ever behind the excellent mix from Seth Henderson.

Bonfire’s has now released 3 EP’s and a split. I think fans like myself are ready for the full-length we’ve been longing for. This will happily hold me over in the meantime though.

Written by: Patrick Marion

Rating: 9/10

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