Brian Bonhomme,
World Keeps Turning
(self-produced, 2000)

World Keeps Turning is an EP-length CD from Brian Bonhomme, a founding member and songwriter for the British band Roman Holliday. This isn't a pop CD, though; it's firmly within the modern folk tradition in both sound and content.

It's a very coherent album. There are six tracks, with the title song appearing in two slightly different versions as the first and last track on it. "World Keeps Turning" is a good song, but hearing it twice in such short order gives it an prominence that it has a hard time fulfilling. The differences aren't that pronounced, either; it sounded to me like the difference between the first and last, acoustic version, was mainly in the addition of some synthesizer to the first.

I admire Bonhomme's courage in presenting his songs so simply. An elaborate arrangement can propel even banality into a hit (as we see often enough in pop music), while unadorned voice and guitar focuses our attention very directly on the song itself. Bonhomme's songs are strong enough to stand up to this minimal treatment, but I think would have been better served by a slightly fuller set of instruments -- and perhaps a wider range of sound out of his guitar.

"True To You" and "Something Unspoken" are bittersweet love songs, and are the most successful with Bonhomme's minimal arrangements. His voice is a good match for the lyrics as well, with a slight edge that adds to their poignancy.

"World Keeps Turning" and "Truth Will Out" are angrier, and the simple arrangements work less well for them. They could use more of a musical edge to emphasize the points of the lyrics. "Sea I Can't Describe" sounds autobiographical and has more of a pop feel than the other songs. It works very nicely, and I liked hearing a song where the writer's reflections on his life are happy, not full of angst.

The liner has the lyrics of the songs, and the basic information about them. I would have welcomed some context, or a version of the biographical notes included in my review package as well, but this is satisfactory.

World Keeps Turning is a pleasant and enjoyable EP, but not spectacular. Bonhomme is a promising singer-songwriter, and I expect that he'll develop a style of both writing and performing that will be excellent. He hasn't quite achieved it here, but the signs are there.

[ by Amanda Fisher ]
Rambles: 21 December 2001