Spectral Dusk

Evening Hymns – Spectral Dusk (Tin Angel)

This is the second album by singer/ songwriter Jonas Bonnetta under the name Evening Hymns, with previous releases under his own name. Evening Hymns is essentially a one-man band making use of a rotating collective of musicians, including members of Ohbijou, The Wooden Sky, The Burning Hell, The D’Urbervilles and Forest City Lovers.

Coming to this album, knowing anything of the background story, it’s fairly apparent it’s not going to be an easy listen. Bonnetta lost his father in 2011 and each and every song on Spectral Dusk is in one way or another about him, or the grieving process and emotions/sense of loss Bonnetta experienced afterwards. A heavy subject matter but here it’s tackled in a way that also leaves the listener with hope and celebration of the passing of a life, rather than anything else. The songs on this album are loose and full of space, understated, but most of all incredibly beautiful.

Evening Hymns Press Shot

Bonnetta and his band headed to a secluded log cabin in Northern Ontario for recording, allowing them to really create an atmosphere more akin to something homely and warm, natural even – and it makes the album glow throughout.

The album opens with some field recordings before a captivating keyboard drone carries you out of the intro and into first track Arrows, as well as drawing you deep in to the album. A heartbeat drum pattern brings you to the live sounding, raw vocals and single piano chords. The track is ultra sparse for most of the first half, and it’s the better for it, leaving the listener room to soak it in before the rest of the band join in contrast . Family Tree looks at the  idea of severing family ties “a money maker I am not, nor will I ever be, so there is nothing you can take from me”. 

Third track You and Jake starts with acoustic guitar picking that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Leonard Cohen track, Who By Fire certainly comes to mind. The track finds Bonnetta reminiscing, like a lot of the album does, about good times spent with family and it’s hard to listen without feeling a sense of the grief and loss. Cabin in the Burn is one of several tracks here that sees Bonnetta describing a scene from his past. Growing from an intense drum and repeated picked guitar note the chorus leaves you tingling when it climaxes – a real glorious moment of which there are plenty on Spectral Dusk.

Closing, and title track Spectral Dusk rounds off the album perfectly. The recording process even managed to capture the crack of an ice-cube in a glass of whisky (21 secs). The musicians had poured themselves some drinks whilst sitting round to enjoy Bonnetta finish off the last track in the wee small hours. Solo and with an electric guitar the track allows you to reflect on what’s gone before. It sums up the tone of the album as well – a  log cabin, a roaring fire, some good friends and the lasting feeling of comfort.

[Rating:4]

www.eveninghymns.com

UK Tour Dates
20.05.13 Coventry, Taylor John’s House
21.05.13 Glasgow, Pivo Pivo
22.05.13 Durham, Old Cinema
23.05.13 London, The Slaughtered Lamb

 

 

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.