The Bonitos' self-titled 7-inch is stuck in a rut
The Bonitos (Skull Skates)
Love him or hate him, you have to give local music vet Billy Hopeless credit for sticking to his guns. From the Black Market Babies and the Black Halos up to his most recent project, the Bonitos, the dude has been delivering doses of Stooges-inspired rock-punk for close to two decades. The problem is, he’s never done it particularly well.
The Bonitos’ self-titled 7-inch is full of the same muscled-up, Motor City rawk riffs that helped the Halos get their three minutes of fame in the early ’00s, but the super-straight-ahead power chords and 4/4 drum beats that fuel “Invalid” feel a mite tepid at this point. Britt Black chimes in with some sweet backup vocals on the mid-tempo stomp “She Don’t Dance”, but the group’s street-walkin’ cheetah of a frontman gargles—err, sings—like he’s had his trachea crushed by a size-13 Doc Marten. “She don’t like the rock ’n’ roll music no mo’,” he groans atop the track’s passably poppy chorus.
Bluesy guitar licks abound on “Plan A”, but the whole thing feels routine, like something you’d expect to hear in any ill-attended punk show. Interestingly, the singer has adopted the clunky, Ramones-style moniker Billy Hopeless Bonito. Considering the stuck-in-a-rut songs of The Bonitos, that’s quite telling.