Review of Stargazer 2 – Steve Bonino Project – Melodic Revolution Records

By Robert Craven

 

Steve Bonino’s work-rate as a musician and songwriter is exceptional as there is a consistent striving for the highest quality output – and, STARGAZER 2, maintains that incredibly high standard.

In the best tradition of RUSH’s Cygnus X1, YES’s Tales of Topographic Oceans and to a degree, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, Bonino and co-writer Linda Kay weave a narrative interwoven with assured musicianship on the 11 tracks.

The studio band of Bonino (vocal, guitar, bass & programming), stalwart Peter Matuchniak (lead guitar), Mike Lewis, Marco Minnemann & Jimmy Keegan (live drums), Erik Johnston (rhythm guitar) and Seth Lewis (backing vocals) create an aural premise of human settlement on a new world – PROXIMA B. This album follows on from last year’s release STARGAZER, priming the story twenty years on from the arrival of the intergalactic settlers.

Opening with the wonderfully evocative ‘The Grand Finale’, the band create a landscape other-worldy using complex programming and off-time polyrhythms harking back to 1970’s pro-rock but given a 21st century spin. The following 10 tracks take the listener into the world of Bonino and Kay’s creation, a novel within an album – The Dark Light DivideCity Out of Time,Hyperspeed Overdrive and ‘The Ancient Sumerian’ propel the music, the ideas and the concepts in a satisfactory, cohesive whole. There’s no weak element to this project, Matuchniak captures the simplicity of Dave Gilmore, but adds a slight punk twist to his solos which offset to Bonino’s southern Californian grooves.

This album challenges the listener, when you replay it over again, and there you get your reward; it could be trite, it could be twee, but STARGAZER 2 is accomplished, polished and whip-smart in its conception and execution.

Melodic Revolution Records are spear-heading Progressive Rock – certainly STARTGAZER / STARGAZER 2 point to a new wave of Prog-Rock coming out of the USA, and that is no bad thing.

Outstanding tracks – The Grand Finale, The Dark Light Divide, Codex and Under the Dome.

It’s a real pleasure to watch an artist of Bonino’s calibre grow and evolve album by album.

 

Robert Craven.

Links:

http://www.stevebonino.com/

https://www.facebook.com/steveboninopage/

http://mrrmusic.com/steve-bonino/

 

About Robert Craven

‘My name is Robert Craven, born July 2nd 1966 and currently living in Dublin, Ireland. I started writing in my teens, short stories, poems, song ideas as I was playing bass in various bands around the city. A part-time course in journalism led to ten years working in publishing; from there I decided I’d love to write. I had a short story published in 1991 in FTL magazine titled ‘The Chase’.

I grew up loving the books by Alastair Maclean, Gerald Seymour, Fredrick Forsyth, Jack Higgins and Robert Harris and The wartime adventures of Eva Molenaar is my contribution to the genre. ‘

LATEST _ Set in the era of Bond and for fans of Lee Child, meet Sebastian Holt.

Holt is a troubled man. Adrift after a mission in Egypt that didn’t go according to plan he’s returned to London. Enter Case Officer Petrie with an offer: travel to France and locate a missing CIA asset named ‘Cochise’. Sounds easy? Holt agrees and flies into Paris only to collide with a beautiful French journalist who isn’t all she seems to be and the KGB hunting ‘Cochise’ down. From London, Paris to Tel Aviv, Holt finds himself running out of options and out of time on the road of a thousand tigers.