Haley Bonar’s tale of becoming a college drop-out differs somewhat to the usual fare. Ater being discovered by, and subsequently invited to tour with Alan Sparhawk of anti-grunge frontrunners Low aged just 19, Bonar spent the following decade recording and releasing an impressive collection of folk-tinged, surprisingly dark humoured albums.
It would be easy to feel jealous of the circumstances in which Bonar was discovered; to pin her success on the luck of being in the right place at the right time and with the right kind of company (what are the chances that a band equivalent to Low would just be hanging out in a pub in the Midlands, for example?). Many might scoff that at a 19-year-old who, though dedicated to their craft, dropped (almost) everything, including college, for such an opportunity. But to do so would completely ignore Bonar’s talent that far surpasses her reputation as Low’s prodigal daughter.
Bonar has a ridiculously accomplished talent at combining soft, country-laced vocals with a larger sound. “Heaven’s Made For Two”, her debut UK single release ahead of her nine-track album, Last War, later this year, is an eclectic, hypnotic exercise in noise for the usually acoustic singer. Building upon her flair for droll storytelling, Bonar maintains her narration despite the larger sound, and “Heaven’s Made For Two” sparkles with dimension and complexity, never losing sight of Bonar’s appreciation for a folky hook underneath.
Additionally, Bonar’s ability to alter the basis of her sound dramatically, whilst still remaining fiercely genuine and captivating, renders “Heaven’s Made For Two” as proof that Bonar stands firmly on her own as an artist (regardless of who her founders were). Rather than exorcising her country demons of the past, Bonar instead keeps a firm hold of them, and contorts the sounds of an often stereotyped genre to create a melodic, intriguing release that marks her as an artist who isn’t afraid to tamper with the conventional.
Last War is released on 29 September via Memphis Industries. Bonar tours the UK for the very first time at the below venues this Autumn:
27 October - Brighton, Green Door Store (Free Show)
28 October - Bristol, Start The Bus (Free Show)
29 October - London, The Lexington (Tickets)
30 October - Manchester, Gullivers (Tickets)
31 October -Glasgow Nice N Sleazy (Tickets)
1 November - Liverpool, Liverpool Music Week (Tickets)
Photo credit: Stephanie Colgan