John Ashfield – Bunnylicious

John Ashfield

Indie pop meets disco meets synthed-out 80s new-wave on John Ashfield’s intriguingly titled Bunnylicious. The five-song EP was recorded in his home studio, and serves as a promotional teaser for Ashfield’s first solo full-length, Harmony Bunny, due in January of next year. Ashfield, who was also the creator of the now-defunct power-pop band Somebody’s Pet, is an elementary school music teacher by day and a songwriter by night. He sings and plays all of the instruments involved in his current project, except for a little help from Chris Xefos on the Moog, Ed Boland doing some drum programming, and Patrick Goodwin adding some lead guitar.
Ashfield’s voice sounds like a cutesy combination of Adam Gardner of Guster and Mark Hollis of Talk Talk. Musically, Ashfield has been compared to the likes of Barenaked Ladies, Matthew Sweet, and Ben Folds, but on this EP, he sounds more dance-oriented than anything else. “Console Stereo” evokes images of 80s roller skating rinks and dance clubs with its pulse-like bass line, gleaming guitar hooks, simple rhythm, and Ashfield’s crystal-clear, well-polished vocals. “I Don’t Know” is perhaps the most rock-oriented track here, hinting at why the Barenaked Ladies comparisons were made to begin with via its rather simple and mindless, but infectiously bouncy and catchy sound. “All Over You” features more electronic programming than the other songs, as well as the almost always lovely Moog, resulting in a sound similar to various 80s new-wave acts but with a bit of a modern rock twist. Perhaps the best track of the five, “Running In Place,” is an upbeat, piano-based number that makes the Ben Folds comparison a little more plausible, but still maintains touches of that 80s synthed-out feel during the choruses. “How You Feel” closes things out as a jazzy, sunny tune that is so sickeningly catchy it sounds as if it could have been the theme song for The Partridge Family or The Brady Brunch.
John Ashfield obviously has a passion for things of old. Fortunately, as a well-trained musician, he also has a great deal of skill in not simply rehashing what he loves but taking it and blending it with what is modern in order to create something unique, addictive, and mildly refreshing. You probably won’t admit you like it, but you just might.