28 Jan Premiere: Bōnewoman – ‘ACTIV8’

There’s a fine line when it comes to cryptic lyrics. You can either come off extremely pretentious or you can stimulate curiousity — the second outcome is how I felt after hearing Bōnewoman‘s new single ‘Activ8‘. With lyrics such as “Beautiful mind map explosive aptitude” and “Cultivating a moss heart in a mother of pearl terrarium. Incubating a resilient dynasty,” it’s not super clear what narrative Bōnewoman is describing, unless you really investigate. Which may be annoying for the average music fan, but that level of lyrical depth is fascinating to myself and I’d like to come across it more often in the local neo-psychedelic-jazz scene.

When Lorien sings other lyrics that are a little more relatable such as “be what you want to be” and “move like water,” instead of these being the notable moments, repeated over and over, they’re used to give you enough time to process the more cryptic lyrics. The group vocal delivery adds to the mystery, because the credits actually say only Lorien-Summer Moysey, despite there clearly being layered vocals. Again, the more mystery the better. It’s not just Lorien that’s impressive, the band is both tight and in sync, while containing just enough sporadic energy. Especially the drums, which don’t just keep up the time, but add some oomph and spice to the chorus.

You can hear clear influences or comparison from groups such as Dirty Projectors, Hiatus Kaiyote, early Tune-Yards or even more recently Tetrahedra. But instead of coming across as a poor imitation, there’s a sense of purpose and knowledge behind all their decisions. They’re not just throwing random ideas out there, their cryptic lyrics teases and leaves me curious for future release. I need to know more about Bōnewoman and in their own lyrical words – “A cryptic mind is infinite.”

Bōnewoman are aiming to record a 7 inch in the coming months. The video clip was produced by Lorien with the help of Felix Billington Kleinman and Mark Luman Millhouse. You can catch Bōnewoman at their single launch at The Evelyn on January the 31st.


Marcus Rimondini

Managing Editor & Music Editor - Follow on Twitter