When I started writing some thirty years ago, one of the reasons for doing so was that I was aware of some wonderful music which the mainstream press ignored. Being able to sing and/or play instruments no longer seemed to be as important as it used to be, and the state of music being played on normal commercial radio filled me with despair, so I just didn’t listen to it anymore. This is how I became involved in the underground scene, and over the years have been fortunate to hear some incredible music which otherwise would have passed me by. Earlier this year Peter Matuchniak sent me a copy of his latest project, ‘Gyreland’ by Bomber Goggles and I loved it immediately. One of the people involved in that was Steve Bonino, and we soon discovered we had a lot in common and I interviewed him for his latest album, ‘Stargazer’ (which is awesome, everyone should have a copy). Following on from that he sent me some of his older material, and I am currently playing Children of the Moon from 2014. My only question has to be, why on earth didn’t I come across this before?
Children of the Moon is multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Steve Bonino, with singer Pascale Elia and drummer Jimmy Keegan. If that isn’t enough in the way of Spock’s Beard credentials, Ryo Okumoto guests on one song and it was mastered by none other than the mighty Rich Mouser. To say this album is a delight is a masterful exercise in understatement. Power pop, pop rock, crossover prog, melodic rock, call it what you will but know that there are some gorgeous songs here with great hooks. Both Steve and Pascale take turns on leads, as well as harmonizes, while Jimmy shows yet again why he is such an in-demand drummer as he adds nuances here and there without removing any emphasis from the melody.
There are quite a few different styles here, and “Everybody Loves Love” is a standout country number (the pedal steel is a wonderful touch), while “My Young Man” is a singer-songwriter classic which belongs in the late Sixties with gorgeous harmonies. Special mention must be made of Amy Tori, who guests with flute on five songs, and this adds an additional sense of class and style to the album that works really well. Many of the songs seem incredibly personal, so much so that I felt at times that I was almost intruding, but it was all so good that I couldn’t turn away. The CD is still available, and it is also possible to stream through Bandcamp, and I can only urge all those into wonderful psychedelic power pop to get straight over to https://thesteveboninoprojects.bandcamp.com/album/children-of-the-moon and discover it for yourselves.
9/10 Kev Rowland