22 May 2018

Bong Wish EP


Before the end of 2017, Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records released Bong Wish’s self-titled EP on a limited-edition cassette. It’s now in its second limited-edition run.

Bong Wish is the moniker of Boston-based musician Mariam Saleh, and is enigmatic in scope, splitting the difference between the counterculture folk-rock of decades past and the modern conundrum of existence particular to the 21st century. Just take a look at the video for the wonderful cassette opener, “My Luv,” in which Miriam both wanders through nature and contemplates her smartphone.

Lyrically, Bong Wish leads listeners through universal themes, themes familiar to the genre’s followers – interpersonal relationships, loneliness and nature – but there’s mystery in the familiarity, particularly in ambiguous and beautiful lines like “When the night hasn’t left in days… The light is just a door away.”

Everything is delivered with such confidence the result sounds almost prescriptive, a cure for age-old ennui and new skepticism – and perhaps it is. With both whimsy and assurance, Bong Wish is a small dose, at four tracks, of just what’s needed now.

In just four songs, Saleh and friends cover a lot of ground, but standout track, “Conversation with Business People,” sees the most divergence from its peers. With a tight rhythm section as a background, layers come and go across its full six minutes. There’s room for some interesting experimentation and instrumentation in its middle, though its use of minimalism over maximalism maintains the earthy core that ties everything so neatly together.

I’ve sat with this review for a long time, and these songs just keep getting better.

Highly recommended.

Joseph Murphy

The Bong Wish EP cassette and digital files are available from the Beyond Beyond is Beyond Bandcamp page. Stream it all there, too.

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