CD REVIEW: JackPot Luck by Gary Bonnani

Gary Bonnani played on an Americana band called “Just Married”. The multi-instrumental artist has been collaborating well over five years with his wife and bandmate LiLachBonnani. They have released six albums and toured all over the US, Israel, Canada and Europe. “JackPotLuck” is his debut EP as a solo artist. His EP has just come out and it is all sorts of good fun and is full of energy! It’s influenced by the 70s rock, 90s driven alt rock and the vibe of the 60s and 70s.

The six song album is definitely a big throwback to the 90s, but in a good way. The recording is crisp and the production is pristine. I enjoyed listening to almost all the songs. The opener A Clown around Here bursts out full of energy and Bonnani’s vocals are intriguing, to say the least. He has got an almost-Dylan-ish vibe on this one when it comes to the vocals. The lyrics are pretty solid as far as it goes but your mileage may vary. This song would fit right in at a flower power protest at the 60s or a house party at the 70s so it’s a cool throwback.

The Saddle is the sophomore track and it’s more of the same hooks and catchy chord sequences. Bonnani’s vocals get increasingly baroque and it’s very cool to see him interspersing the chords amidst the chaotic vocals. It gives the feeling of a wonderfully chaotic mess which is totally in control of the creator sort of like Keith Moon on the drums for The Who in the 60s. It is jangly alt rock at its best with shades of the Lou Barlow influence echoing in the background. Any song which harks me back to Dinosaur Jr. or Sebadoh is good in my book!

Ugly Garden is definitely Beatles at the height of the 60s psychedelia. The song, its compactness, the British cool vibe, the smarmy lyrics and then the deadpan vocal style all fit right in. The song is also pretty short at two minutes and fifty minutes it is a dead ringer for a Beatles song alright. Along with the front man from Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats (from the metal music scene), Bonnani seems to be the only one who can evoke the Fab Four accurately in this era of Spotify and Soundcloud where Beatles covers are aplenty.

Head Full of Stoneat four minutes starts with a Lou Reed-like monologue set to some 70s guitar chords. It’s a simple song with a meandering style that doesn’t cohere nor attempt to grow chaotically like The Saddle. The lyrics are again a bit derivative of A Day in the life from The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album about the day in the life of the protagonist.Once again,Bonnani displays a versatile style where he can effortlessly move from being a Velvet Underground style singer to a McCartney-esque sweet choir boy.

Careless Talking, the penultimate track is at three minutes and twenty seconds; a polished little gem. “Careless Talking sets free what’s in your head” snarls Bonnani on a song that has the driving force of a sledgehammer all with a few chords and a basic guitar. This is my favorite song off the album. Bonnani’s vocals are on an edge and seem twisted here in manic energy. I loved his voice trailing off leading to the drums and the solo in the middle which harks back to the best of classic rock. This is a radioready hit and one for the ages.

The Feelingis the final track and it closes the album on a high with four minutes of solid rock. “I’ve been wasted but never quite like this” it goes and it packs a wallop and is wonderfully concise.Bonnani’s vocals soar and hit all the high notes and it reduces his vocals on the previous works almost to a murmur. His chimera like ability to switch notes reminds me of a musician from an entirely different era and an entirely different style – Dax Riggs. So if you dig Dax Riggs and Acid Bath, Agents of Oblivion, Deadboy and the Elephantmen purely for the vocals,Bonnani is your man for the similar vocal style on this song.

by Thomas Drake

In Short Words

Criteria - 70%



All in all, this album is a very good entrant to the music scene as it sets itself apart from the rest of the 60s and 70s imitators. It is original where it needs to be and derivative when required. It doesn’t settle into the comfort of ripping off riffs throughout and has its own mix of virtuoso. I am looking forward to more from Bonnani!

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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