Rob Bonfiglio “Freeway”

Rob Bonfiglio

On his third LP, the veteran musician (guitarist/songwriter/producer with multi-platinum pop act Wilson Philips; guitarist & co-conspirator for former RCA power-pop band Wanderlust) still knows how to create joyous power pop, like the opener “Lonely World” by contrasting the sweet chorus with the isolating lyrics “What is love, what is wealth, when you’re all by yourself?”

This effort has a more laid back California feel than previous albums, using more contemporary pop rhythms with rich melodies. “Almost Blue” is a smooth Eagles-like tune with some great slide work in the break. “I am Tomorrow” is another great song with a simple pop beat that builds into a complex tapestry of melody with sharp backing harmonies. “Beautiful” has a good mix of chord shifts and dramatic romantic lyrics. The pop craftsmanship here can’t be discounted, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Not that Rob has forgotten how to rock, “Best Plans Never Made” is an excellent rocker with a nod to Ringo and Paul, catchy swagger and the dense guitar outro.

The album goes through adult themes like hope, forgiveness and the frustrations of life and love. Bonfiglio’s pop sensibility is similar to Andrew Gold with the bouncy “Under The Gun” and the sunny “Golden State” with its sunny, deliberate tempo and some heavenly harmonies very reminiscent of Bob’s famous father-in-law. Overall a low pressure album that hits all the right notes, even with the slight instrumental “Prelude”and it makes my year end list for 2014.

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