It’s easy to underestimate Bodhi Jones. At first listen, he seems like any other white guy with an acoustic guitar. Fortunately, with his latest album, Bones, he adds multiple instruments and layers his vocals to flesh out his sound. His voice wavers between crystal clarity and throaty rawness, described as “scratchy smooth vocals”. When he’s not strumming solo and busking in his home city of Vancouver, Bodhi has no problem using both a choir and a symphony to create multifaceted and layered songs.
Bodhi has recorded five EPs and five full-length albums. Bones is his most recent work–an eleven-track album released in early fall of last year. With so much experience, Bodhi has found his signature sound and is sticking with it. Fans of Coldplay, Kings of Leon, The Fray, and others will be able to see the diversity of his tracks, but fans of heavier and more intricate sounds may be uninterested in Bodhi’s mellow crooning.
The album begins with the cinematic track, “Never Learned How to Dance” which utilizes drums and guitar to create a rising and crashing beat that, combined with Bodhi’s soulful singing, starts the album on a sombre note. “More Than Okay” follows this precedent, as does the title track “Bones”, where Jones works through his emotions using a piano and allows us to listen. Jones further explores his emotions with a guitar in “Where Does Love Go When It Dies?” and “Can’t Catch a Break”.
The second song on the album, “Suitcase Packed”, sounds eerily similar to the Gin Blossoms‘ “Til I Hear It From You”. He distinguishes his track with heavy drum beats, violin, and the addition of a female vocalist, though fans may be unable to divorce the Blossoms tune from Jones’ soundalike.
“Tattooed Love” maintains the upbeat feel of “Suitcase Packed” despite its content. The chorus claims “Bye-bye baby, I’m a loser” but the energy behind his layered vocals, drums and guitar suggests an optimistic song. Much like Third Eye Blind, Bodhi often sings about serious content over ’90s pop-inspired vocals and guitar.
The single “Drink like the World’s Gonna End” could be compared to a Great Big Sea song because of its energetic folk/rock hybrid sound. It begins with a soft, piano introduction, which evolves into a multi-instrumental epic with varied vocals. The video for the single is made up of over 10,000 photographs of Bohdi taken over a period of 12 hours to produce a time-lapse video, all taking place on a single busy street corner in Vancouver.
According to Bodhi:“The song touches on the culture of war, materialism, and the tendency to numb ourselves with drugs and alcohol. There’s still hope for humanity and that one day we’ll ‘shake off the hangover and stand up’ shedding our apathetic ways. But until that occurs we should live as free and have as much fun as we possibly can, because the future is uncertain and life is to be lived with passion!”
Bodhi’s songs ring with genuine emotion and understanding of their meaning. Evidently, he puts thought and effort into his lyrics. Aside from the occasional bubble-gum pop inspired lyrics used in the chorus of his songs, Jones writes about drug addiction, depression, and anxiety, themes that are especially prevalent in his earlier albums. He is very open about his struggles with the themes featured in his songs, often commenting on his own videos to inspire fans who have thanked him for songs that accurately portray their experiences.
Bones embodies the hope Bodhi is after. While it deals with serious themes, his matured instrumentals and passionate vocals lighten the tone and allow for easy listening. He has proved he’s a lot more than some white guy with a guitar.
Check out Bodhi Jones!
Author: Sarah Gordier