Bohemian Sunrise - It's In the Cards CD

Bohemian Sunrise offers a refined, eclectic mix of soul music in this flexible, energetic disc.

This diverse group of musicians, hailing from New Jersey, has offered a package that is difficult to classify but rewarding to experience.  The musicians offer up a thought-provoking disc that is equal parts funk, soul and rock-n-roll and spiced with Afro-Cuban rhythms and other "worldbeat" accentuations.  These tunes range from melodic ballads to thoughtful rockers, featuring likable hooks and engaging melodies that encourage repeated listens.  The album demonstrates the talents of Dustin Blackshear on bass and vocals, Joe Brady on guitar, Jimi Chiara on keys and vocals, Dom Clark on drums, and Ed Clark on guitar.  The ensuing collaborations between the musicians are interesting, well-composed, and incredibly varied.  In reviewing this album, I felt as if I was reviewing the work of three different bands at the same time.  There are distinctly different personalities amongst the songs on this album, and I find myself liking this aspect of Bohemian Sunrise very much.  The tracks on this album show the musicians in Bohemian Sunrise to be musical "doppelgangers."  They wear many hats, adroitly maneuvering between musical genres and showing a mature and polished sense of song-writing.  This willingness to take chances reveals Bohemian Sunrise to be ambitious, musically interesting, and difficult to pigeon-hole.


The album begins with the refreshing, inspired "Drawing Down the Sun."  Other publications have stated that this song seems inspired by Paul Simon and that is a thought I will share, but can not claim credit for.  There is a wistful, melodic maturity present in this song that invokes Paul Simon during his "Graceland" days.  "Shine On" spotlights excellent keyboards, vocals, and guitar in a polished number that reminds me of the finest Steely Dan.  "Kiss it all Goodbye" changes gears, offering a refined, romantic sensibility to the album.  "Wave of Funk" kicks up the party vibe, with blustery saxophone adding another layer to the Bohemian Sunrise equation.  "Picket Fences" features a melancholy accordion, wistful guitar, and lyrics that hint at loneliness for someone who isn't at home in a world full of PTA meetings.  "Something's Gotta Give" seems reminiscent of "Supernatural" era Carlos Santana, spotlighting playful guitar and lyrics.  "Too Easy" spotlights warm vocals and Latin rhythms in an attractive package.  This song changes gears halfway, transitioning from easy-going dinner vibes to a more feverish Afro-Cuban keyboard jam to bring the point home.  I found this track incredibly attractive and dramatic, and noted it for later.  The album closes with "Sing for Me," a heartfelt ballad punctuated with strong vocals and elusive guitar.


In reviewing "It's in the Cards," I find myself admiring their polished, well-conceived songs, and enjoying their ability to change gears so effortlessly from song to song.  This willingness to take chances, a quality I sometimes praise in other discs, seems especially pertinent when analyzing this disc.  "Shine On" and "Wave of Funk," with polished grooves and funk sensibilities, stand in stark comparison to the more emotive lyrics at the heart of "Kiss It All Goodbye" and "Piece of My Soul."  Rather than offering 10 tracks derived from similar themes, Bohemian Sunrise has produced an interesting, multi-faceted album that showcases their varied talents, yielding excellent results in the process.

- By J Evan Wade