Album Review: Bnny – Everything

[Fire Talk; 2021]

In any given moment in popular music history, and across all genres, there has never been a shortage of records dealing with love and loss and every intricate aspect of these feelings. These records mostly focus on and convey the most intense parts of the struggle, which is quite understandable as this tends to be when feelings are at their most potent, and ultimately yield more of an emotional response from the audience. However, on their debut album Everything, Chicago four-piece Bnny do the opposite.

Everything is an album that recalls the lead singer/songwriter Jess Viscius’ relationship with her partner, as well as deals with his tragic passing. Often records written in such contexts tend to only go for one of these themes; the more focused the record, the more convincing it is to the listener. Although Jess has admitted that she was tempted to only focus on losing her partner, she ultimately decided to include tracks that had to do with their relationship before the tragedy, because otherwise “that would only tell half of my truth. It seems more honest to include all of it, which is why I decided to call the album Everything. Because these songs, these memories, are everything I’ve got.” Everything is a collage of both love and loss in the most literal sense of both words. Although 37 minutes may not seem enough time to fully express either of these feelings, that doesn’t seem to be Bnny’s intent.

There is not much to say about the technical side of things, despite being a four-piece, the songs are very stripped back and could easily be imagined to have been created by Jess herself. The songs are intimate, utilising little more than breathy vocals, simple guitar effects, slightly muffled drums. This creates an interesting feeling for the audience; it’s as if we are listening to moments paused in time, where Bnny are just constantly playing their songs in a small room.

Albums such as A Crow Looked at Me or Carrie & Lowell focus on the most intense parts of losing loved ones. Whereas these albums leave us absolutely devasted, Everything is an album that feels like the parts of heartbreak that are calmer – yet still heartbreak. Bnny’s debut balances the calmness of the instrumentals and the emptiness conveyed in the lyrics. The calm parts of a heartbreak or any majorly distressing event feel exactly like emptiness, which Bnny hint at but never immerse themselves in. Instrumentally, they don’t evoke the dramatic imagery of an abyss, but rather that of a world that looks normal, except that there is no one in it.