EP Review: Liverpool Genre-Bending Quartet Bonk! Shine On ‘The Act Of Doing It’ EP

Bonk! Photo by Charlie Harris

The Breakdown

When listening to this EP, it feels like stumbling across a hidden treasure, like finding the next big thing. Definitely one of my most exciting discoveries of the year so far.

Liverpool quartet Bonk! has made a big impression with the release of their debut EP, ‘The Act Of Doing It’, an exciting introduction to their blend of funk, psychedelic jazz-rock, and post-punk, presented in a strikingly unique sonic approach.

Produced by the esteemed Jim Spencer (renowned for his work with New Order, Johnny Marr, and Liam Gallagher), ‘The Act Of Doing It’ comprises four tracks that showcase Bonk!’s audacious musical vision. Each track offers a compelling and varied facet of the band’s sound as they freely traverse between genres and moods with a sense of ease and joyous experimentation.

Opening with the frenetic energy of ‘Fridge Lightbulb’, with its funk guitar lines, choppy breaks, and unrelenting chord movements, the track quickly showcases the band’s abilities as instrumentalists. Adorned with brilliant guitar lines and rich keys that stay locked in with tight drum fills and moving basslines, the intro captures the fun, playful energy that characterizes the band’s live sound in style. Comparable to Focus’ epic ‘Hocus Pocus’, the EP’s intro sets the tone before shifting into ‘Safety In Numbers’.

Capturing a brooding post-punk tonality, ‘Safety In Numbers’ melds swirling synths with choppy guitar, deep bass, and punchy drums to create a driving energy around the expressive spoken-word vocal. Contrasted again against the buoyant, poppy melodies of ‘Wave’, and then again to the psychedelic, dark, and prog-tinged ‘Preserve’, adorned with its spacey undertones, intense lyricism, and shredding, tapping guitar solo, the EP manages to jump from sound to sound while still retaining coherence, always sounding like Bonk!. Whether they’re bouncing their way through indie-pop or delving into the grungy, yearning depths, the band manages to retain a creative flair, a fluorescent, and exciting edge.

Discussing the EP, the band explains: “These tracks are, I think, the best representation of the last two years of Bonk! And the whole point of the EP was to bookend that chapter as a band. We recorded the EP live. So much of who we are as a band comes from playing live music, and we wanted it to reflect that. All the main parts were recorded at the same time, in the same room by yours truly. We think our music sounds better when there’s a good chance we could mess it up at any given moment.”

While each track can draw comparisons to bands both new and old, it’s fair to say that Bonk! is entirely unique and should be viewed as a fresh, different, and uncategorisable band in its own right. When listening to Bonk!, it feels like stumbling across a hidden treasure, like finding the next big thing. Definitely one of my most exciting discoveries of the year so far.

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