Bonzie is the stage name of Nina Ferraro, who plays guitar and sings her heart out on her debut full-length, Rift Into The Secret Of Things. When giving the eight tracks a blind listen, one important detail escapes the naked ear: The Chicago native is only 17 years old. However, despite her young age, she displays an incredible amount of maturity and depth to her outlook, making this trip through a teenage girl’s mind a lot less scary than one would expect it to be.

The first track, “Data Blockers,” is also the longest, clocking in at 6:22. Bonzie starts the album off with a strong, thoughtful piece that decomposes into a feedback-driven instrumental section, ending with a fading upright bass. My favorite track is the sixth, “Catholic High School,” which is a song that perfectly encompasses all of the conflicting emotions a teenager could ever possibly feel. The verses go off listing everything the singer mistrusts, such as priests, teachers, religion, and homeless people. The lines “I don’t trust the government/But I don’t trust not having one,” allude to the massive confusion about the world she feels, and “You say you don’t believe in love/But I trust that you do” shows a certain amount of hope for the future.

There is something about Bonzie’s style that is reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel. The introspective lyrics, rapid acoustic strumming, and her tendency to push her voice to its limits are all pages torn from Jeff Mangum’s playbook. In only a half-hour, the young lady proves with this LP that she can find the perfect mixture of casual observation and poetic songwriting. This album was a refreshing listen, and I expect some good things to come from Bonzie in the future.

In A Word: Surprising

—by Matt Garrison

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