You’ve heard 90 in November before. You might not realise it, but you have. The debut album from Why Bonnie is every American indie rock song released in the past 30 years rolled into one easy-to-swallow package. It’s Giant Drag on a rainy day walk with Kim Gordon. It’s Sparklehorse sipping lattes with Chastity Belt in your local coffee house. It’s The Breeders munching down a cheeseburger on a lazy afternoon. It’s… well, you get the point.
In 2022 an album with such obvious (and arguably overdone) points of reference should quickly become tiresome, but somehow, Why Bonnie manage to pull it off. From the opening guitar squeaks of ‘Sailor Mouth’ right on through to the last reverberations of ‘Superhero’ the group proudly wear their influences on their collective sleeve, shooting down any potential criticism with a lorryload of fuzz.
By doing this, Why Bonnie have ended up taking an unintentionally subversive musical route, not in terms of sound, but in terms of delivery. In deciding that creating the music you love is a lot more important than jumping through the never-ending hoops of the hype machine, the group have avoided the pressures of ‘the man’, allowing them to create an album they can truly call their own.
While there’s clearly no avoiding their heavy ’90s lean, there’s enough on show here to suggest that the group are in it for the long run. On first listen, ‘Nowhere LA’ And ‘Healthy’ sound like they could have fallen off the back of any record released in 1993, but dig a little deeper and you start to realise there’s something more at play. Why Bonnie have a knack of adding a subtle, distinctive warmth to their music, elevating them high and above other peddlers of the past.
90 in November is the sound of a group figuring out what they want to do, and just going ahead and doing it. In a landscape obsessed with the search for unobtainable newness, this attitude is to be applauded. There’s no need to be original every day of the week.
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