Everything, the new album by BNNY sits in the space between worlds. You can float on it’s surface and appreciate that this is a soporific set of songs that delicately lap at your shore, or you can dive into inky deep of the record where one half was “written in the midst of a tumultuous relationship” and the second half written after Jess Viscius’s partner died. So, some songs are lament, some are a celebration of love, and some are born out of the frustration between the two. Viscius says “I don’t cry often, generally I’m not super emotional, but when I sit down to play guitar, I can get in touch with the side of myself that I only know exists when I’m writing.”
Woven through the fourteen tracks is the fragility of Viscius’s voice with its opaque breathiness. It is the cloud that floats above the solid ground provided by the perfectly assembled backing from the band; twin sister Alexa Viscius and friends Tim Makowski and Matt Pelkey. Everything expresses a tranquilised country and western that has a similar introspective quality to one of Viscius’s influences, the Velvet Underground. The trick with such minimal arrangements is avoid clutter and there is so much to praise in the sparse, but flawless, playing. For example: the laidback drum shuffle on ‘Not Even You’, the picked-out guitar notes on ‘August’ (which buffet the tune but don’t knock it off course), the shimmering dual guitar of ‘Stardust’ or the lush Carol Kaye-like dampened bass on ‘Time Walk’ or ‘Blind’.
Grief is the thread we can’t help pulling at though we know it will unravel the jumper, but even in the songs that plumb the sadness a kind of Zen calm is achieved, and I hope that in writing these songs Viscius has helped the grief coagulate. But whether it’s the optimistic canter of ‘Promises’ or the somnambulist melancholy of ‘Ambulance’, BNNY have put together an album that is powerful and evocative and has the power to calm and hopefully prove valuable to those who need catharsis.