Bong Wish - Hazy Road

LP Edition of 400.


Hazy Road is the debut album from Bong Wish, the solo project of Palestinian-American artist Mariam Saleh. Former bassist for beloved garage rock band Fat Creeps, Saleh got her start in the Boston music scene of the early 2010s. While living above a music venue, where she was also employed, she was exposed to a myriad of jazz, psych, and experimental music. In turn, Bong Wish incorporates both the high-energy and distortion of garage alongside kaleidoscopic soundscapes, and folds them into its folk rock sensibility. 

Hazy Road is a coming-of-age album, documenting Saleh’s self-exploration, as fueled by her interest in psychedelia, spirituality and the desire to know oneself. “Love is in season, love is in me,” she declares in the song ‘Witches.’ Saleh’s vocals and phrasing maintain a smooth and cool quality throughout the album, lending the songs a deep wisdom and a sweet breeze of confidence.

A fan of both Love’s surreal folk rock and Ween’s eccentric expression, Saleh enjoys infusing her tunes with a touch of tripped-out freakiness. The title track ‘Hazy Road’ seems to borrow its vocal line from the sound of a record being played backwards in order to reveal its true message, as alluded to from the sample at the start of the song. ‘I Can Feel’ could have been sung by the Byrds or Vashti Bunyan, albeit at half speed, while ‘Moon For You’ could have easily appeared on the Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs.

On ‘Breeding Evil,’ Saleh confronts the senselessness of Israel’s apartheid against the Palestinian people and broods over how it has personally affected her family. “Your fire soldiers have left a mark on all that I have known,”  she summons. But she pledges strength in the face of all the cruelty: “You can’t kill lovers, we will only rise and love once more.”

Bong Wish has been Saleh’s journey through home recording and beguiling live shows. Over the years it has been a solo project, a glam rock band, a trio with flute and piano, a spoken word act, and more. The process has paid off. Hazy Road has a natural, immensely listenable quality to it that only comes when an artist gives themself the time to discover a sound that is uniquely theirs. The album is both a homage to the rock and folk music that Saleh loves and a collage of memories, dreams and moods. A reverie on a misty beach. Nostalgia for a love gone away. Hope for the future. Hazy Road accompanies Saleh through the dark as she strives toward light and love.

Written by Sally Horowitz, edited by Alaina Stamatis

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