There’s nothing really wrong with Walking Backwards Thru the City, the debut CD by Boston’s Daniel Bon & the FUTURE ghosts. The playing is capable, recorded with booming, live-sounding production. Bon churns and croons, changing up the pace enough to keep from settling into the same groove for too long. And Bon has clearly studied his 90s rock history, throwing in occasional nods to Bob Mould and Sugar or the Pixies.
The problem is, there’s nothing particularly compelling about the CD, either. While the songs seem perfectly acceptable, it’s hard to shake the feeling that you could be listening to something more inspired. On “Turning Blue,” Bon shoots for Thom Yorke’s transcendent falsetto, and while he has the range, the song is mired in modern rock clichÃ©s and never truly takes off. What might have started with an honest feeling ends up sounding like it was tailored for a tender moment on the Road Rules soundtrack. Likewise, the pulsing, mechanical synth pop of “The Signs in Things” comes off more like warmed over Savage Garden when Bon was probably aiming more for Depeche Mode.
Bon is obviously talented, and he has an appreciation for a lot of different sounds (he is, after all, a producer himself). He just can’t seem to get below the surface. For all that may be wrong with Walking Backwards Thru the City, there are times when it feels like Bon is frustratingly close to something more substantial, something more passionate and personal. But for now, it’s too much gas and no spark.
By Nick A. Zaino III