After The Cab released the Lock Me Up EP in 2014, vocalist Alexander DeLeon spent years traveling, honing his skills, and discovering his new sound as a solo artist. During the transition from one musical project to the next, he visited over seventy-five countries, whilst asking himself who he really was and what his purpose was meant to be.
This experience culminated in 206: Act 1, the world’s first introduction to Bohnes. The EP is full of stories, both meaningful and thought-provoking, that give us an insight into the character DeLeon has spent the last few years letting out. Through his music, he explains that everyone hides behind a mask, and that he was tired of wearing one himself. He wanted to show who he was, to truly show all of himself and all of his bones.
Slowly releasing various singles over the course of a few years, DeLeon deliberately gave fans small glimpses into the life of Bohnes. “Guns and Roses,” “Six Feet Under,” “My Friends” and “12 Rounds” started dropping back in 2015, with about a year or so between each.
Each track is jam-packed with creative melodies and heart jerking lyrics. My personal favorite, “My Friends,” speaks about the mental struggles that many face, as he sings, “I wanna play God for a little / Control my own thoughts for a little,” and “I wanna feel sane for a little / And own my own brain for a little / And maybe I’d smile for a little / I did that shit a lot when I was little.”
Thinking that you always have put your best face forward, despite what you may be feeling inside, is something many people deal with frequently; DeLeon is no exception, especially after being thrust into the spotlight as of late. This song provides a therapeutic message for listeners, assuring them that even those who seem like they have it all can struggle with the same emotions.
For me, the most unexpected track was “Moshpit.” At first listen, it was one that didn’t fully fit in with the rest of the album. The song is rougher compared to the others, which appear to be perfectly structured and almost too safe at times. “Moshpit” allows DeLeon to show us a side he really hasn’t shown before, as he sings, “All these empty faces / Are so basic / I can’t take it / It’s been a long time since I gave a shit.” It almost feels like he is craving the chance to live like he used to before the fame, even if only for a moment.
The final number on the EP, “Better Than Me,” is absolutely the standout. The stripped back song gives listeners the chance to really hear just how powerful DeLeon’s voice can be. The lyrical content is about a breakup, and how you can try so hard to make a relationship work even though it just isn’t meant to be. It’s self-deprecating and shows a vulnerability, especially as he sings, “’Cause I know that you / Deserve better than me, better than me.” Adding in multiple-part harmonies and keeping the instrumentals at a minimum makes it feel as though he is talking directly to you, giving the song a personal touch. It’s emotionally draining if you listen to it for too long, but, as is the case with the whole EP, it’s hard to stop.
WORDS BY KELLY FADDEN