Winnipeg. Nice place but cold in the winter which probably gave Boniface the time and space to work on his '80s-inspired synth pop moves. So long as he had a warm room to work in. As we approach yet another winter it's time to listen to his debut album which is here on Transgressive. It's all about growing up in a small place and never wanting to go back. It's a haunting and emotional ride, uplifting yet melancholic.
Limited Vinyl LP £19.49 TRANS436XX
Red coloured vinyl LP on Transgressive.
- Coloured vinyl
- Limited edition
- Includes download code
Vinyl LP £17.99 TRANS436X
Black vinyl LP on Transgressive.
CD £10.49 TRANS436CD
CD on Transgressive.
I've spoken before in Norman reviews about the specific kind of aching nostalgia that good synth-pop can achieve. Just think of the wistful majesty of 'Are Friends Electric?' or that certain quality to Neil Tennant's voice that just makes you want to bawl. Before I listen to the Pet Shop Boys for two hours, let's crack on with Boniface's debut record. It's an emotive take on synthpop, with piano ballads, glassy synth pads, and lyrics that speak of "getting out soon".
The comparison that springs to mind is to the Killers, actually. Although the Killers have done what they were always going to do and become bloated stadium rock pap, but, children, there was once a time when they were actually okay. Boniface and the Killers share that big-eyed, big-hearted take on synth music, conjuring images of motel trysts, dusty highways, and vocals that flit between the grating and the emotive. I think that tension between grating and emotive is why I'm struggling to know whether I enjoy this record. I might do, and although there are a few duds, I think this record is pretty enjoyable. If you want a technicolour, synth-pop rendering of Bruce Springsteen (which I know you do) then Boniface is for you.
9/10 StrawberrySwing 14th February 2020
This stunning debut makes my arms feel like jelly and my heart feel like gold. Beautiful and surprising throughout. Daring and fresh. Visser has captured, in song, the perpetual motion of youth. They do so with a raw honesty that could make some listeners blush, or call the person they bullied in school to say sorry, or to ask the person they've loved in secret to dance.
The places where the record is imperfect actually serve to make this a more authentic offering. It's kind of the thesis of the record: come as you are. Bust a risky dance move. Look inward. This could not be a more exciting, more inciting first offering from Boniface and a sign of where Visser will to grow to as a writer and artist.
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