Bonfire Night


January 1, 2008

(Ona Records)

Chicago-based Sanawon will be releasing a second album after their 2005 debut, Tiny Airplane. In that time the quartet has been whittled down to two, and Jenny Choi, the mind and surging emotion behind Sanawon, has perfected a little something called the throat growl. Luckily the emotional range of Bonfire Night gives her a chance to bust out these Stevie Nicks-like nuggets of vocal intensity, which shows Choi growing a bit more into her band's name (the Korean word for "fierce"). A huge departure from the sweet constructs of Tiny Airplane, Bonfire Night is a darker, passionate collection of Choi's memories and perhaps the meatier pages of her diary. Most tracks feature Philip Stone's sharp drumming, and David Johnson's production in favor of electrified beams of indie synth and organs. Bonfire's gems are the ones where Choi really pulls it out (the throat growls), usually happening in the last third of the song (on "Noel, KS," "Undermine," "Things Fall Apart"). For those brief moments of audible conviction, Choi not only hits it, she fiercely kills it. -Christine Vilar

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