Australian-born, singer/songwriter Simon Bonney ( Crime and the City Solution) has shared a previously unreleased track, ‘A Sweeter Kind of Pain’, taken from the forthcoming compilation album “Past, Present, Future,” due to be released on 3 May 2019 on Mute. “Past, Present, Future” includes songs from his last two albums “Forever” (1992) and “Everyman” (1994) as well as six new tracks from the unreleased album “Eyes of Blue”.
At the age of 16, Simon Bonney formed Crime and the City Solution in an abandoned building in Sydney’s business district. The band embodied the post-punk ethos of nihilism and alienation, and Simon’s lyrics and music were informed partly by his experience as a 14-year-old runaway in 1970s Kings Cross, Sydney’s red-light district. In 1984 after a move to London, Simon formed a new incarnation of the band with Bad Seed Mick Harvey, Rowland S Howard (The Birthday Party), Harry Howard (These Immortal Souls) and Epic Soundtracks (Swell Maps).
After four beautifully chaotic records, a run of cacophonous live shows in Europe and the US, and a standout performance in Wim Wenders’ 1980s masterpiece Wings of Desire, the band broke up, and Simon and Mick relocated to West Berlin. Here Simon would form the longest lasting line-up, the Berlin Crime and the City Solution, which featured Simon, Mick, Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten), Bronwyn Adams, Thomas Stern, and Chrislo Hass (DAF). From the band’s first offering, “Shine”, through their final album, “The Adversary Live”, the band was championed by influential journalists, with its albums regularly showing up in the best-of lists.
In 1992, with Crime and the City Solution on hiatus, Simon came to the US on an impulse, stayed for a decade, and released two records; the much loved and very personal “Forever” and the socio-political “Everyman”, a record that has grown in relevance as rapid change and social dislocation has increased.
In imagining the perfect soundtrack to these observations, he turned to the melancholy and plaintive sounds of dobro and lap steel of 1970s country music, the sound of longing for the familiar, for security and stability, songs about family and belonging, memories of a childhood farm in Tasmania. The result was two country-tinged, compassionate and prescient portraits of life in late 20th Century America, through Tasmanian eyes.
His path led him into outback Australia, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh – a life rich in extremes of colour and conflict, of trauma, of humanity and inhumanity, of power and powerlessness. It was not always easy to witness and eventually, Bonney felt he had seen enough and it was time to stop – to embrace something simple, something personal – his music. He pulled tapes from shoeboxes and listened to the old albums as well as tracks recorded for the unreleased album, “Eyes of Blue” and discovered that far from sounding nostalgic, they sounded fresh and every bit as relevant – if not more relevant – than when he had recorded them.
About “ A Sweeter Kind Of Pain”, Simon explains: “This track is about the loved one you will always be with, even if you are not together – joined by shared experience and connection, a tether that cannot be broken – it’s better to accept it, than to fight it, or it will consume you.”
The song opens with the simple, sombre beats of guitar and percussion before Bonney’s rich, dusty vocal sets the tone with heavy emotion: “I will follow you wherever you go/ cos I have tried/ but just can’t let you go/ note said you’ve left, on the New York train/ left me with your memory/ like the sweeter kind of pain” – at this point, his voice is so deep-rooted with country angst, he gives Johnny Cash a run for his money.
The chorus is heart-rending as sorrowful swells of Hammond organ (similar to Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale”) add melancholy to the haunting lyrics: “You will live on in my dreams/memory runs so deep/ did you let me go darling or do I still come to you in your sleep?”
The embellishments of cello and strings add more emotional depth and poignancy to create a beautiful and sad torch song – one of the most heart-breaking you will hear – lyrically lovely and musically powerful.
Check out ‘A Sweeter Kind of Pain’ – BELOW:
In May 2019, Simon Bonney will be on tour with Mark Lanegan across the US.
US TOUR DATES WITH MARK LANEGAN
5 May – Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
7 May – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
8 May – Detroit, MI – The Shelter
11 May – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
13 May – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
14 May – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw
15 May – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
16 May – Asbury Park, NJ – The Stone Pony
Ravenswood (from Forever)
Don’t Walk Away From Love (from Everyman)
There Can Only Be One (from Forever)
Where Trouble Is Easier To Find (from Everyman)
A Sweeter Kind Of Pain
Everyman (unedited) (from Everyman)
The Great Survivor
Forever (from Forever)
Eyes Of Blue
Can’t Believe Anymore