When I heard the first Bone Man self titled album a couple or so years ago it pretty much kicked my arse into next week. I remember being incredulous that here was a band that had no label behind them as their brand of psychedelic stoner meets grunge was a real breath of fresh air and they had the chops to stand up against anyone. Then it all went quiet. This year however Bone Man drop another album, the cunningly titled “II”, again self released and again a shit kicker of the highest order.
Bone Man have definitely grown as a band. The stoner, grunge and psychedelic influences still abound but on opening track “Dead Weight” they show some almost progressive tendencies with more complex structures that don’t sacrifice the band’s ear for a catchy hook and a sense of dynamic that sees the band step from clean guitars to a wall of fuzz and back again. “Closer To The Sun” is more overtly psychedelic coming across like the bastard son of The Doors and Jethro Tull. I realise this may be a stretch of the imagination for some but the overall effect works perfectly and shows a young band with a sense of maturity beyond their years.
“All Eyes On Me” is a track that build in intensity from a jerky opening that again invokes memories of The Doors, complete with organ solo but builds into a mighty fuzz work out with strong vocals that sound not unlike Justin Sullivan from New Model Army. One of this band’s strongest points, and something that separates them from so many similar bands is their ability to craft a song that says what it needs to say then gets the fuck out…no 10 minute jams wasted on needless noodling here, just well structured, actual songs. A real breath of fresh air! Also noteworthy is the band’s ability to step from genre to genre, for example “Stuck In The Mire” blasts along with a punkish intensity but doesn’t lose sight of the band’s lysergic core and even throws in some Eastern refrains just to keep you from getting too comfortable and complacent.
This Eastern vibe continues through “A New Breed” which blends such disparate influences as Stone Temple Pilots, early Tool and Monster Magnet and is one of the more direct songs on offer here in stark contrast to “Out Of Phase” which is a hazy, drawn out, trippy affair that occasionally descends into freaked out blasts of noise and crazy atonal wahed slide guitar. Again Bone show their compositional skills as the song grows and builds into a spiralling riff-fest that threatens to implode under its own weight…then does!!!
In a characteristically bloody minded twist, “Wood Song” starts in almost conventional rock fashion before pulling off the mask and morphing into a brash psychedelic rocker the like of which Dave Wyndorf has been trying to perfect for the last 20 years…it seems Bone Man trump him in terms of sheer manic intensity as they remove the pressure for commercial acceptance and hit the road freewheeling wildly! The album comes to a logical conclusion on the epic “Hollow Promise” which build from a simple repeated acoustic guitar figure and almost chanted vocal melody that is punctuated by serrated shards of angry guitars fuzzed to barely controllable levels of acidic rage. Once again the song builds from its slow burn base into a towering and melodic tour-de-force.
It still beggars belief that a band of the quality of Bone Man haven’t been snapped up by the likes of Electric Magic Records or maybe someone like Elektrohasch for whom they seem tailor made but on the strength of this release, maybe they just don’t need it. Maybe here is a band that can keep producing quality records and existing on their own terms. Either way Bone Man are a band that need to be heard…so go listen…now!!!
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall