The Von’s first release, the full length album Ei8ht, revealed a power trio capable of rousing all of the expected rock and roll excitement while appealing, simultaneously, to our intellects. This is affirmative music that seeks to elevate and enlighten without ever adopting some Pollyanna rose-colored view of the world. Coupling that point of view to a rambunctious and multi-faceted rock and roll sound is the crowning stroke of inspiration – there’s a great deal of urgency surrounding The Von’s message and presentation underscored by exceptional production values. 3nity, though an EP, is every bit as substantive as the band’s debut release Ei8ht. These South Florida musicians and songwriters are one of the best under-the-radar units working in popular music today and their inexorable rise continues with this release.
“I Know It’s Love” is the best possible opener for this EP. It’s a beautifully constructed song – it ends as it began and everything in between follows a coherent and satisfyingly inevitable progression. Guitarist Marek Schneider unleashes brief flurries of lead guitar that elevates the song without ever laying any unnecessary virtuoso trips on the track. He has a warm, clear sound that highlights soulfully precise playing. Luis Bonilla is the band’s bassist, but his role as lead singer is obviously much more impactful on the performances of each song. He excels here thanks to the reassuring and sturdy grain of his vocal and electrifying phrasing that gives everything he sings a faintly rousing quality.
His bass leads the opening of “Nature of the Beast” and the full band fills out the track soon after. This is drummer Elisa Seda’s chance to shine. He gives “Nature of the Beast” a strong and wide swing that Bonilla’s bass locks into to form a memorable groove. The Von intuitively understands the elusive mix of factors that goes into making a top shelf power trio, but particularly how to conjure much more sonic presence than listeners have any right to expect from a trio. The personal quality surrounding each song thanks to the lyrics continues here and it is difficult to not admire how completely the band has married the personal with a compelling and rich musical vehicle.
“My Heart Machine” closes 3nity on a distinctly grandiose note. Grandiose, however, doesn’t mean that this is an unpleasant experience in any way. Whatever ambitions the track may or may not harbor, The Von resists self-indulgence and, instead, builds an exciting and quasi-cinematic “big statement” track without any of the heavy-handed nonsense seeping in that commonly weighs down such well intentioned efforts. Melody, gritty rock textures, and an airy freewheeling style that keeps the band’s music light on its feet distinguish The Von from countless peers, but there’s more. The intelligence underpinning these songs, extending from their lyrical content to the basics of song construction, is the EP’s single biggest defining factor. It is a gift that has served The Von well since their formation and continues to pay enormous artistic dividends. 3nity continues that run and we may certainly expect additional highlights to come.