Imitation is apparently the sincerest form of flattery. If this is true then Bonfire Beach has sincerely flattered quite a few bands during their short lived existence. Perhaps I’m being a little harsh. After all, according to Jim Jarmusch, originality is non-existent. I think it was Jean-Luc Godard who once said ‘It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to’. And that may be true. If you take what inspires you to new heights or simply in new directions then one can overlook the fact that it all began as inspiration because everything begins that way. What if, however, you take what inspires you nowhere? It is then, unfortunately, that imitation comes back to bite you in the ass.
You have to admire Bonfire Beach’s exuberance. They are young, raw, probably a little drunk on the excitement of creating. It is exciting. Creation is a wonderful thing. However, when you put what you create into the public arena then you open it up to public review. You open it up to people who aren’t your relatives or good friends to say what they really think. And what I really think is that what they have created is very average. Enjoyable to listen to, catchy at times, good background music for a trendy restaurant or club, good generic music for a college scene in a movie, but in terms of its musical quality it is nothing special.
What they do has been done time and time again. It’s a formula that has been perfected over the years. Black leather jacket and dark sunglasses on, hollow body guitars at the ready, distortion pumped up to the max, everything slathered in reverb, Fender amps stacked up behind you. The Velvet Underground is arguably where this whole formula began. The 90’s brought us Blonde Redhead, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Brian Jonestown Massacre. When looking back on any group you pick the best. I predict that when kids in the future make a list of the best from this decade, Bonfire Beach won’t be on it.