INTERVIEW: BERNACCIA | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Jonathan Noble will be the first to admit that Bernaccia have taken their sweet time to release their debut album.

The vocalist and guitarist admits that “good things come to those who wait”, and in this regard he’s spot on. With the release of Growl Peace Belief this month, Bernaccia have firmly nailed their colours to the mast, demonstrating a fully formed sound that’s by turns aggressive and sensual. He admits that since the addition of Ellen Chetcuti, who provides a feisty vocal to match Jonathan’s own gruff delivery, the band’s sound has started to crystallise. “With Ellen joining and Stew [Falkous] dropping his guitar to play synth we just had a big rush of creativity, it really became a crafting of various elements and sounds, allowing me to play guitar a lot more and start to challenge myself there instead of just playing rhythm. With the addition of the female voice, all the music gained a new perspective and direction.”

The culmination of several years of jamming together in an attempt to find their sound has resulted in the creation of a tight and cohesive release. The album title also demonstrates the band’s evolution, as Jonathan explains. “It sort of represents different stages, emotions of life. Growl is the anger, Peace is the conscious thought and celebration while Belief is more the spiritual characteristic. There are songs in the album that probably fit into one of these titles – WarCry is probably Growl, Spiral is Peace, Awake/Power are Belief – but it wasn’t a conscious decision to write them to fit that mantra, more an evolution of the album. Chris our producer suggested it’s an album on life, which makes the title almost like a shoegaze, psych rock Hakuna Matata.”

it’s an album on life, which makes the title almost like a shoegaze, psych rock Hakuna Matata

With influences that range from the tribal rhythms of experimental mentalists Goat and American indie rockers Warpaint, it’ll come as no surprise to note that rhythm is a key component of the band’s sound. WarCry opens the album with menacing intent; a stomping beast of a track, with woozy guitars and Chris Cox’s hypnotic drums. More tribal drums await on Awake, as Ellen’s vocals invite a psych-fuelled maelstrom swirling around the duelling vocals. Similarly, on new single Angel, Ellen and Jonathan’s vocals seamlessly intertwine, as Kieran Healy’s moody basslines lay the groundwork for an epic fuzzy guitar assault. Jonathan’s love of Arcade Fire’s Suburbs album comes to the fore on tracks like Power To The Hills, which is full of brooding intensity and howling refrains; Vega has a sensual rhythm; while Murder has a touch of the vaudeville about it. The title track is a slow-burning epic, ending with a clip of President Kennedy’s A Strategy of Peace speech.

“There’s anger in some of these songs about the state of the world and the things we are now exposed to day to day and the need to be motivated and driven.” Jonathan admits. “WarCry is definitely the most angry and political I’ve been in a while, there are lyrics in there that are influenced by the refugee struggle and the anger, confusion and insanity of it all. But then there are other songs that are about life changing and finding new roles and direction.”

Growl Peace Belief may have been a long time coming, but I can assure you the wait has been worth it; Bernaccia have crafted a blistering debut and an essential listen.

Bernaccia release Growl Peace Belief on 23rd September. The band play The Green Room, Stockton on Friday 9th and Head of Steam, Newcastle on Friday 23rd September.

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