Release Date: September 4th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- You Got Me
- The Good Life
Being a lover of both CCM and indie Christian music, I’ve always been pro-active of sorts- trying to find new artists and check out new music. Bonray, a band of 4 siblings, are yet another one of indie artists that have impressed with their EP’s/albums this year. And while frankly I don’t really know the band that well (aside from the fact they are from Pennsylvania and their EP was produced by Scotty Wilbanks- who currently plays keyboards for Third Day), dare I say it, that this band is certain to bring in the fans and followers in the future. With powerful guitars and a great 4 part harmony making this one of the most fun youth-orientated groups since Hillsong Young and Free last year; Zac, Jesse, Jason and Morgan Bonner have given us 5 tracks full of life, hope, encouragement and enjoyment.
As they share from their website, ‘…the heart of our band is our relationship with Jesus. He is the inspiration of our lives and music and we’re giving it all back to Him. We love what we’re doing, and want everyone we come in contact with to be encouraged and see the hope and purpose that is waiting for them…’ From first track “Wildfire” to the emotive “Overboard” and the dancing melody “You Got Me”, this is a band you don’t want to miss if you love artists who gear their music towards youth and young people, from OBB and Jamie Grace, to Jump5 and Hillsong Young and Free.
The first track on the EP, “Wildfire”, begins with a guitar riff as the siblings bring out a pop/dance sound that’s destined to bring in a whole lot of listeners of the youth/young adult age range who connects with this type of music. With a message of spreading love, hope and positive affirmation like how a wildfire spreads from a single spark, we see this analogy remind us of how contagious and necessary Christ’s love really is, for us and those who we are in fellowship with each day. At times it can seem busy and repetitious with layers upon layers of instrumentation and gang vocals, it is the bridge that remedies the song with a poignant reminder if we can ‘…feel it now, our God is alive, can you feel it now, our God is alive…’, as we, in this light, use what we have and what we know as motivation to share our hearts and lives to our fellow family and friends. A great song to listen to in the summertime and at parties, “Wildfire” is one of my highlights on Bonray EP!
Throughout the rest of the EP, we are blessed to hear the band bring out our inner youth/young adult as the beats, melodies and themes all remind us all that being someone in your 20s (like myself) can be one of the most interesting times of our lives. With a ‘la la la’ backing vocal bringing “Higher” into life, we are met with a moment of longing as the band hope to be higher- ‘…draw me to the heavens, higher, this is where it starts, I feel it in my heart like a fire…’ From a place of regrets and disagreements to one where we’re living life without any worries, stress or anxiety, “Higher” is a call for each of us to shift our priorities from the right now to the not yet, and to know that often the mundane things we routinely undertake can be the things that impact others the most.
“The Good Life” mixes together guitar riffs and a fast music pace to bring to light a song that celebrates everything about life being good as we embrace our friends, families, relationships and all things that challenge us to be better people; while the emotional “Overboard” stirs up empathy amongst the piano notes as the band bring us vulnerability and realness in the poignant words of how ‘…here’s my heart, I’m letting go, of everything I’ve ever known, take me deeper than before, Your love’s pulling me overboard…’ A song that’s calling us to delve deeper into the love and grace of God set before us; it is the third track, “You Got Me”, that is once again one of my favourites from the EP.
Bringing with it one of the most poignant messages, even though it seems to be the song that doesn’t take itself that seriously; “You Got Me” shows a ummp-for-joy piano melody/riff that you can’t help but dance along to. Singing about a devotion to God and how ‘…you got me, I got you, like the moon and the stars are never apart…’; the song is one of the most infectious melodies to be stuck in your head since Jason Gray’s “Laugh Out Loud”. With a fiddle and gang vocals adding another layer musically, Bonray have shown us one of the most beautifully crafted and musically creating song by an indie artist since I Am They’s “From the Day”.
A debut EP. Is that enough to tell whether a band is going to succeed or fail with their subsequent albums? Maybe, maybe not. But what I can tell you is that the heart of Bonray and all the members in this sibling band is one of honesty, worshipfulness and presenting melodies that uplift and inspire- which is what these 5 melodies do, in spite of some being a little more geared towards youth and young adults than the general population would like. Despite the young target demographic, I, a nearly 25 year old male, thoroughly enjoyed the EP, and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves worship/pop/dance in the realms of artists like Hillsong Young and Free, OBB, Jamie Grace, or even Plus One or Jump5. A fun filled EP that leaves you begging for more, this 5 track offering is just enough to leave us anticipated for their full length album, whenever that may be. Well done guys for such a powerful selection of songs!
3 songs to listen to: Wildfire, You Got Me, The Good Life
RIYL: Hillsong Young and Free, OBB, Jump5, Jamie Grace