New Wave Revitalist LearningToDive Teases Debut Album with Intoxicating Social Commentary.

Sammy May

LearningToDive, New Zealand’s post-punk and New Romantic inspired musician, is releasing a debut album this Spring. The album acts as a love letter to the innovational 1980’s music scene, packed with the best elements of the post-punk and synth-pop genres that come together in an exhilarating blend of sounds.

Known as Bravo Bonez, the singer, songwriter and producer is a native of Wellington, who has compiled this album by translating his personal experiences and perceptions of the world through the template of 1980s musical sounds. Over the last few years, Bravo Bonez had come to question some of his own assumptions about life and his place in the world as a husband and a father. 

Now permanently settled in the capital of NZ due to Covid-19, Bravo spends his time reconnecting with his musical passion through a variety of musical projects, as well as helping to develop and encourage local musicians through owning and running his own music studio PureSound Studios NZ

One of the leading tracks, Rainbow Fall, was recorded in Norway in August 2019 when the weather was surprisingly hot. Unsurprisingly, then, beholding a beautifully cinematic landscape on the western seafront in Giske, LearningToDive recorded a track in which his observations about the world take centre stage. 

“We want no prejudice, we want a world that’s fair.”

Bonez’s benevolent baritone enters the track in a warm, sonically-pleasing sound that is reminiscent of The Horrors. The track is underscored by tribally rhythmic drums and lively brass notes that come together and exude a comforting optimism. The hook, “Don’t let this rainbow fall” rings throughout to perhaps remind the listener of the inherent fragility of this planet. Finally, the track ends with a friendly and final reminder for: “Humanity, humility.” 

The track forms a pseudo-social commentary that is rich in texture, depth and harmony. The track happened to be released in a timely manner as US politics had taken and turn for the worst, the track comments on the unnerving division between the left and the right. 

LearningToDive said: “This song, although not directly written about the USA, is a timely release as the USA transitions from one administration to another. 

“It is a call for reconciliation between Left and Right, and not to let dark forces manipulate us into fighting each other. A call to be humble, and not to forget others’ humanity.”

‘Little Requiem’ is harrowingly orchestral and the voices of a choir ring out to a synthesised beat that makes the track somewhat ethereal and dreamlike. Only to then be stunned into action by the upbeat tempo of ‘Tainted’.

“Bravo uses his expertise of various instruments from keyboards to the violin to produce a truly breathtaking single full of anthemic atmospherics, ambient dream pop and a smattering of shoegaze”Indie Central 

The final track, ‘I’ll Smile’, appears at first like a letter to a long lost loved one, but slowly transforms into a final goodbye to the bad memories of 2020 and recognises the benefits of letting go of negativity.

“A dirty sun falls, as a crippled autumn fades.

We fooled around, we played with fire.

I understand you’re tired now,

I’ll smile, as you walk away.

I’ll smile, as you walk away.”

However, the lyrics also remind one of the inherent fragility of the earth and our impermanence as mortals, the fact we are playing with fire and messing with earth’s natural balance, and ultimately an understanding that eventually we may be abandoned by such a balance and left to fend for ourselves as we destroy the planet we live on.

The release of High & Dry on the 20th of November was LearningToDive’s first outing under this musical identity. His debut album will be ready for release on the 2nd of April 2021. He now has 4 released singles (High & Dry, Falling Leaves, Rainbow Fall and Tainted), with his monthly listeners consistently sitting around 3200 per month.

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