Bohemian are a four piece ensemble native to the town of Athy in Ireland’s County Kildare, whose soft rock flavour comes laced with traditional hints. Releasing two EPs during the latter half of 2014, the band have crafted a pair of compilations made up of content that is equal parts fun and sincere.
Their first, self-titled EP – released on September 17th – is a reserved and simple effort. Its first two tracks, “Leave Out Love” and “Lost Not Found”, are characterised by straightforward acoustic riffs and clear, concise vocals. The former glides along with a gentle melody, while the latter has a slower, mellow musical tone aside resonant vocals. “Bless You, Bless Me” follows on with cheerful riffs and keys next to a loud, buoyant melody.
While it maintains the reserved nature of its predecessors, “Flicker” features busier guitars and a more acute harmony. “Get Down” is the EP’s most musically complex addition though. It’s a boisterous number that has more of an electronic vibe and emphatic, passionate vocals. This is succeeded by “Uh Oh”, a lighthearted and fun finale. Its tongue-in-cheek lyrics and fast paced, catchy tune give the proceedings a short but entertaining conclusion.
The Spectators and Partakers EP, which dropped on October 24th, has a grander and more ambitious feel. It ultilises the full extent of the members’ talents through six heartfelt and affecting tracks that carry quite a romantic theme overall.
“Lush” immediately differentiates itself with a lively riff and drum beat combined with an optimistic melody. “Home (Is What You Make It)” continues on with loud, engrossing guitars and drums amid coherent, enthusiastic vocals. “Shoot” slows things down, serving as a more reticent, emotionally resonant piece.
“I Do” is a wonderfully moving track. Beginning with a back to basics musical approach, the instrumentation stuns in its simplicity and builds. The honest lyrics and yearning vocals make for a poignant and touching composition. Its emotion extends into “Two Sugars”, whose content is sweet and earnest, but with a happier, more airy ambience. “The Effervescent” takes over from this, floating by atop placid acoustic guitars and light, pleasant vocals. There is indeed something very effervescent about this song’s execution. While this is the EP’s true finale, there is also an alternate version of “Home (Is What You Make It)” added to the end.
Spectators and Partakers is stronger than its self-titled predecessor, but that doesn’t mean that the latter is lacking. On the contrary, one of the best things about these EPs is that they manage to distinguish themselves from one another without the band’s style becoming inconsistent. Instead these two works complement each other, serving as fitting companion pieces.
Bohemian’s greatest strength is the humanity and emotion with which their music is endowed. Whether their lyrics and content is veering towards the comedic or melancholic, it always feels forthright and genuine. Their easy listening instrumental technique and tranquil vocalisation give their material a great deal of accessibility, making for a thoroughly enjoyable listen.