Having followed with eagerness the progress of British band Bernaccia since the release of their debut EP in 2014, it has been a source of great enjoyment hearing the evolution in their striking sound. A proposition truly hard to pin down but openly flavoured by essences seeded in the likes of neo-psych rock, desert blues, and Eastern spices, the Newcastle band’s music has blossomed from the low key yet fully magnetic alternative/psych rock tempting of that first outing, the Cinema EP, to the rousingly haunting and spiritually anthemic soundscapes making up first album Growl Peace Belief. The nine track offering simply absorbs the senses, picking up the imagination with equal ease as tribal bred rhythms and melodic suggestiveness unite with harmonic flames and lyrical drama. It is one of those rare releases which comes and along and bewitches with aural alchemy; an album forcibly pushing the band to the fore of the UK rock scene.
Originally a quartet when forming in 2014 and more recently a quintet with the addition of vocalist Ellen Chetcuti’s charmed tones alongside the powerful delivery of vocalist/guitarist Jonny Noble, Bernaccia has increasingly drawn rich attention through a live presence taking in shows with the likes of Royal Blood, Lola Colt, Alabama 3, The Fall, Twisted Wheel, CUD, and Wolf People among many and releases like Cinema, its successor Light//-//Dark later that first year and singles such as Power To The Hills, Awake, and recently Angel. Each has revealed a new blossoming in the sound and imagination of the band, it all now coming to a head in the climactic Growl Peace Belief.
The album opens up with War Cry; a track emerging from an intriguing coastal sounding landscape as the listener is drawn by an exotic guitar melody with inviting tabla inspired beats courting the coaxing. Expanding its embrace with every passing second, an Echo and The Bunnymen feel caressing the imagination, Noble’s voice is the final pull into the shamanic bordering on erotic seducing of the senses. With the darker hues of Kieran Healy’s bass a brooding tone alongside the insistent repetition of Chris Cox’s drums, and the united roar of Noble and Chetcuti an inescapable engagement over their respective psyche entangling enterprise, the track is fiercely irresistible only imposing its persuasive weight further through the creative synth drama cast by Stew Falkous.
The following Spiral is a slimmer proposal in terms of intensity, wrapping ears swiftly with an eighties synth pop welcome with just a touch of Bowie’s Heroes to it. As the synth bubbles and expels riveting mists of electronic enterprise into the air, guitar and bass begin weaving a tapestry of imagination which in turn seems to instigate a growing tempestuousness coming to a towering head as the vocalists expertly combine. Departing with the same masterful charm it started with, the song makes way for an equally thrilling proposal in Awake. Rhythms instantly trap attention with their tenacious dance, Chetcuti joining them with her firmly enticing voice backed by Noble soon after before the song drops into a mystique laden bellow of sound with the latter seizing ears as that shamanic prowess of the band again grips body and spirit. The imagination constantly has a field day with Bernaccia songs, this one like a flight across a cavernous and intimately spiritual soundscape.
Power To The Hills also provides eighties reminding hues, this time King Trigger with their similar rhythmic invention and Nick Cave through the song’s dark rock n’ roll graced theatre of word and tone suggested in thoughts. The track is another which builds dramatic crescendos which boldly ignite the senses, the build of melodic and rhythmic ingenuity leading to them just as rewarding and provocative as the fiery expulsions themselves.
As the ear enslaving captivation of Angel and the poppier shuffle of Vega come and go, band and album simply tighten their grip and further inflame an already discovered appetite for the Bernaccia invention. The first of the pair is arguably the least imposing of the band’s songs but just as virulent in its imagination and infectious psychedelically hued tempting while its successor has all the shadowy beauty and danger found in other songs but with a catchiness which infests the listener as a blues/psych flavouring similar to that conjured by My Baby arrests the imagination.
Every track within Growl Peace Belief is a treat with Murder one of the most thrilling next with its repetitive keys placed melody and volcanic intensity. Graced by another glorious vocal union between Noble and Chetcuti and the individual theatre of sound and suggestiveness crafted by all, the track is superb, it’s nagging quality alone manna for ears before Senorita consumes with its romancing Latin seduction and dramatic rhythms as keys and harmonies virtually swamp the senses.
Concluded by its invasively melodic and drama driven title track, another stunning pinnacle of the album deserving ears more than words to reflect its might, Growl Peace Belief is the realisation of the hard work, thick imagination, and spirited energy Bernaccia has spent and discovered these past two years. It is also the declaration of a band ready to have a big say on the British rock scene ahead.
Growl Peace Belief is out now and available through many online stores and @ https://bernaccia.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 13/10/2016