Bong – We Are, We Were And We Will Have Been

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: Ritual Productions
Released: 2015
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Bong finalTracklisting:

01- Time Regained
02 – Find Your Own Gods


Close your eyes and imagine what a band called Bong might sound like. There, you got a good aural picture straight off yeah? For those who’ve led too cossetted a life to manage such a task let me confirm that WE ARE, WE WERE AND WE WILL HAVE BEEN is not your turn it up to 11, get pumped, party classic. It will not encourage you to break out the guitars and play along. It is your spaced out, quiet spot, deep listening, contemplation jam. It’s the stoner left after all the other stoner rock bands have gone home, the one sat gazing at the bottom of their glass and wondering about the bigger picture.

This is Bong’s fifth album, although it’s made up of just two songs of roughly 20 minutes each. They’re two slightly different sides of a coin shaped out of stoner, doom and drone, with just enough differences that you can tell one from the other by feel.

‘Time Regained’ is a thick fuzzed sound that just runs and runs, peppered with a light drum kick and a few other background sounds that provide variation for the ear. Minimalist would be the word. Largely instrumental, when the sort of chant-sung monk vocals pop up midway you kind of want to brush them aside for having intruded on your moment. The final minutes feel like one long anticipatory ‘is this the end’ moment where each note suggests it could be the last but instead keeps on playing out.

‘Find Your Own Gods’ starts with the spoken word bit, again keeping it short, before hypnotic spacy notes slowly rise and fall. Not matter how muted the drum when it comes in it startles you out of the manufactured reverie. It feels like a performance, a piece of theatre you pay and sit in the dark for, where atmosphere can truly build and transcendence feels close at hand.

And that’s basically what you need to do with WE ARE, WE WERE AND WE WILL HAVE BEEN. Keep it dark and keep it quiet and let it work on you.

Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs