been around for a while, fronting bands and touring,
and his experience shows in this collection of thickly
textured and engaging songs, evoking sting, robbie
robertson and peter gabriel. signs of passing
opens with an infectious giggle that belies the serious-minded
artist waiting just around the corner of the first
verse, but also keeps bonner’s music in context, never
allowing it to take itself too seriously. the occasional
peppering of hip-hop helps with this as well, finding
bonner switching between a shawn mullins-style grumble
and a nasal eminem rant in “turning of the stone.”
bonner is at his finest creating lush and brooding
soundscapes. he talks, howls and whispers his way
through 12 singularly accomplished songs."
-clay steakley, performing songwriter
a lover of sting, jackson browne and that sort of
laid-back, dave matthews-style, thinking-person's
rock. matt bonner brings us that and more in his indie
CD release, signs of passing. his lyrics are
heartfelt and tell stories of longing, self-revelations
and signs of the times. the hit comes in track nine,
"turning of the stone", where i jumped up, thinking
my CD player had changed discs over to eminem's latest.
out of nowhere, bonner heads into a sort of rebellion-like
fatalistic and frustrated kid rock/eminem rap song.
he shows a side of himself that most of us have but
never reveal. he has a sensitive side, full of frustration,
doubt, hope and love, in his compilation of tunes.
and then, just like our personalities in real life,
bonner shows emotion that at times hits all of us.
musical quality and great vocals, combined with a
variety of sounds from song to song, make this CD
very intriguing and a definite standout hit."
-carol anne szel, the inside connection
quality on singer/songwriter/keyboardist matt bonner's
signs of passing is an order of magnitude higher than
most indie releases, which means that casual listeners
might be tempted to write off his mid-tempo, ethereal
efforts as mere ear-candy. not that there's anything
wrong with accepting this as a collection of enjoyable
polished sounds, except that to do so misses the point
rather widely. bonner is as committed to writing and
publishing prose as he is to writing and recording
music, which gives him a facility with language that
provides depth to his music even when the surface
is calm. cryptic imagery, clever word play and effective
narrative are found throughout the disc, making it
a fine candidate for repeated headphone sessions.
that same effort to attend to the language will reap
rewards as new levels and layers of musical depth
are revealed as well. bonner's production efforts
were augmented by joe capps' recording and mixing
skills. capps also contributes what seems to be exactly
the right guitar passage in exactly the right place
over and over again. this is the kind of album that
makes people passing by say "gee, that sounds nice,"
but there's far more hear than initially meets the
-shaun dale, cosmik debris magazine
mystical and cynical, matt bonner would seem to be
a living yin and yang. on this cd, his vocals and
keyboard work often present a high, airy, spiritual
contrast to the grittier, rawer rhythm elements. dreamy
vocals by bonner and becky morrison mccaffrey are
in a different realm than the darkly comic hip-hop
of jack tanner, yet they coexist beautifully....with
influences from robert frost to radiohead to bjork
and suzanne vega, signs of passing is an eclectic
mélange of contemporary influences....the sonic presentation
is super-clean....it's well worth a listen."
-seven days newspaper, burlington, vermont
aside sting, U2 and DMB, you've been resting on your
laurels and biz connections for far too long. it's
time to make room for an unknown indie artist who
has been newly cast into the same caliber of musical
excellence. breathing into his personal brand of music
the same freshness as contemporaries radiohead and
beck, matt bonner amalgamates genres of jazz, alt-rock
and hip-hop into a likeable form that emotes across
the spectrum from mystery to irreverence. bonner,
as writer and producer, is the captain of this project,
and master of channeling into the ethereal. the sinuous
"reveal" is defined by taut but yearning multitracked
vocals laid upon a steamy undulating drone. "saving
grace" is powered by a goosepimpling harmony with
cory sipper. great stuff."
-alan fark, minor7th.com
see big things for matt if he stays true to his music.
there are a lot of qualities that make this album
more than worth the while. i highly recommend this
album to artistic pop music fans that have had a little
too much of the bubble gum stuff. this is certainly
a step in the right direction for pop music."
production quality: 5/5
-michael allison, musicdish.com
"there is substance
beneath the glitter on top....the lyrics are insightful
and occasionally haunting....[bonner's] certainly
got something to say. worth a spin."
-aiding & abetting
always nice, when reviewing a pile of discs, to run
across one that simply defies easy description....it
is that very escape from genre which makes it such
a treat to listen to....matt bonner has forged a unique
bonner is totally and absolutely out of place in today's
indie music world - in a good way. on his latest full-length
release, signs of passing, he proves himself
a mature and confident artist, charging ahead with
highly polished music seemingly influenced by everything
from hip hop to sting to everlast. that said, despite
occasionally obvious influences, bonner's music remains
unique and difficult to categorize in a few short
when I was ready to him shelve him under "adult contemporary"
(mainly due to the uncanny similarity between his
voice and sting's, especially in the higher octaves),
bonner threw me with clever raps on "tripwire" and
"turning of the stone," a highly-charged track that
seems to parody everything from international politics
to the perils of the music industry. the next track,"gate,"
is an abrupt, 180-degree switch into acoustic guitars
and drifting vocals....bonner
is an incredibly talented and intensely creative individual
and the obvious enthusiasm he has for his music shines
through. when it comes to indie pop, he is in a league
of his own."
-gary smith, delusions of adequacy reviews
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