At King Electric (Stonefly)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Sept. 7, 2018
Ray Bonneville's ninth studio LP kicks off deceptively dark and low in the slow-bruising blues of "Waiting on the Night," but that's where the decadelong Austinite shines. The Canadian pushes a journeyman's patience and confidence, guitar lines cutting deep but never flashy, and a voice just rough enough to bleed experience. At King Electric picks up groove as it progresses, with "South of the Blues" and "It'll Make a Hole in You" licking suave rhythms that kick back to 2008's Goin' by Feel, while "Codeine" grinds the grit of 2011's Bad Man's Blood and "Papachulalay" lays down New Orleans swagger. Bonneville's honed character narratives climax with "The Day They Let Me Out," but the understated, soulful "Tender Heart" stands as the LP's highlight, a potential blowout hit behind the right vocalist.