Guitars shaped like sonic buzz-saws bombard us with their fuzzy discordance in “Perfect Dream.” Slender, colorful grooves find a bright melodic core to straddle in “The Great Game.” Thunderbolts of texture and tonality trap commentarial poetry right where we need it to be in “Catalina,” and though a similar formula is employed in “Jesus, Julie Christie!,” these two compositions are like a pair of sunsets – familiar on the surface, yet entirely unique in every way.


This is Tonne’s Bridey Murphy, a stately new extended play that listeners can currently acquire anywhere quality indie rock is sold and streamed, and while it’s hardly the only independent gem worth getting seriously excited about this spring, it just might be the most unapologetically monolithic of the lot. Everything feels larger than life in Bridey Murphy, from the guitars to the vocals to the consistent flow of drum and bass that forges a backdrop for every verse we’ll here, but even though it’s an exhibition in grandiosity by all accounts, I think it’s more representative of a fat-trimming trend in modern pop music than it is any of the more liberal approaches being taken to similarly cerebral content in 2020.

“Perfect Dream” is sporting some of the best instrumental definition I’ve reviewed this season, but it isn’t the only song here that this can be said about. The fine lines on the guitar parts in this track and “The Great Game” in particular are enough to make even non-guitar freaks weak at the knees after a casual listening session, and although this was clearly a record that was designed to be heard full blast on a good pair of stereo speakers, it has just as much of an effect on its audience at moderate volumes (thanks to its top-notch mix). The tracklist features terrific fluidity that helps one song slide into the next without ever skipping a beat, and while some tracks – like “Jesus, Julie Christie!” – feel a little more experimental than others – such as “Catalina” – the complex intricacies of the material presented to us as a whole in Bridey Murphy could be what makes it such an appealing treat to examine, even after two or three dedicated listens.


I just got introduced to the music of Tonne recently, but I can tell you that I’m very eager to hear more of what this singer/songwriter is going to deliver under this new moniker. With Black Forest Fire, Jay Tonne proved that he could be versatile whilst sticking with a reliable script beneficial to both his own vision and the natural direction of his sound, and in this new project, he’s expanding upon the themes he set forth in the past with a professional moxie unmatched in his current scene out of Denver, Colorado. Denver isn’t quite as tough a market to make it in as Austin is, and with an artist like this one producing material as intriguing as Bridey Murphy is, it isn’t going to take him very long to make a big name for himself around town and, eventually, abroad.

Sebastian Cole