POOR BODHI - HRS NO. 16

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Afro-punk that puts the blues on the beach with a glass of prohibition era whiskey. Really, that’s the only way to capture everything Poor Bodhi brings to their sound. Songs shift from soulful blues to surf punk to a dark waltz that could be the soundtrack for a gun-point meeting in a back-alley speakeasy. The diversity of influences is as impressive has their ability to bring cohesion to the whole sound.

Poor Bodhi is going to do what they want, which is why they may be the only band to make a mid-song shift from down-tempo blues to surf rock. Jenee Elise Donelson’s croons through, “Is there a die in your pocket, baby. I sure hope you plan to roll it on me,” offering the idea that we only get one life to take chances. The lyrics carry the same weight as the heaviest of blues songs, but then the tone shifts. The tempo increases. The energy hits 11, and then we’re off to the races. The mood shifts from contemplative blues to beach-inspired riffs and laps around the drum kit that take “Wipeout” to task. One of the best parts of this track is Jenee’s laugh in between moves in the drum solo. It tells it all. We’re all going to die, but Poor Bodhi is in on the joke.

“Solomon the Waltz” hits another era. This track starts with a smoky, guitar-driven waltz and suspicious drums paired with Jenee’s powerful voice telling a story of thievery and betrayal. Everything about this track, the mood, instrumentation, vocals, etc. all give a dark noir feel. “Betrayal has a price, and you will pay it by the bone.” While this track doesn’t make the same shift in mood as the more afro-punk tracks, it is a refreshing and impressive demonstration of how the most subtle of adjustments to a genre can make it new. You always get high energy with Poor Bodhi. even when the tempo and volume aren’t the main drivers. But if you’re looking for that kind of thing, look no further than “Ooh Wee.”