Inbokeh – Into the Sun

Inbokeh – Into the Sun


Inbokeh’s musical attack has the lean economy of a clinched fist. There isn’t any fat on the six songs making their debut release, Into the Sun. None run over four minutes in length and most clock in fewer than three. Inbokeh isn’t one of those self-indulgent alternative rock acts that, inside of three years, will be rejecting their old songs as primitive and planning grandiose concept albums. It is apparent from the first song and everyone after that Inbokeh, despite their obvious intelligence, is a blue collar rock and roll band committed to serving the song first above any virtuoso trips. These aren’t exercises in musical masturbation. Instead, Inbokeh’s songs sound like brief, desperate missives by a band playing for their lives.

There’s a lot of looking back on this album. The band’s press materials refers to the lyrics as sketched, scarcely fleshed out, but there’s a clear theme emerging from these songs that’s far from incomplete. Inbokeh’s songwriting rues its lost youth, but not in a rhapsodized fashion that threatens to pull the song into farce and melodrama. There’s a tough, practical side to the band’s presentation circumventing even a hint of pretense and elements like Jonathan Burgess’ yearning vocals reinforce that feeling of a band looking to bring us face to face with their own realities. More of their unique songwriting perspective comes through in “Too Good to be My Devil”, a bruising brawler of a song that unwinds one speaker rattling guitar passage after another in steady succession. Guitar Danial Swafford has a brave, unblinking style that throws off any restraint when he decides to go for the throat and, likewise, knows how to settle into a deep groove. Moreover, he can seemingly shift gears at any time and never miss a thing doing so.

“Spend Time” continues making aging and the march of years its topic, but this isn’t some heavy handed rumination. Inbokeh’s music has an immediacy eschewing any kind of second guessing and, instead, favoring creating moments for the listener and their approach to lyrics and singing is the same. Everything is impressionistic and slightly stream of consciousness – one gets the distinct sense that each Inbokeh performance is different from the last. This quality is even stronger on one of the EP’s finest songs, “Head Out into the Sun”, a quasi-anthem of sorts featuring memorable melodic strengths and the best example yet of how Inbokeh is able to build vast cathedrals of sound from straight-forward instrumentation and comparatively simple structures. The band maintains the same commitment to brevity on “Stay” that characterizes the entire EP, but it doesn’t have quite the same dramatic lift as the arrangements in earlier songs. The song’s brightest virtue is another soulful, powerful vocal from Burgess.

Into the Sun’s final song, “Ghosts in my Hallway”, is another turbulent, emotionally wracked song with a withering Burgess vocal. Inbokeh stretches a little here with longer lyrics and slightly extended instrumental passages, but nothing ever slips off the rails and crashes into self-indulgent nonsense. It’s a fitting and wonderfully cinematic end to an equally cinematic album.

9 out of 10 stars.

Related Article:

William Elgin