Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Album Review: Bones - Walker
Bones (King Christenstein the 10th)
...head-swimmingly eclectic. If you really open up your mental palette and let all the gooey kaleidoscope-ing pastels and midnight-blues and sparkly synth syrup pour out and spread upon you from the softly baritone-led spooning of singer Ben's voice - then you might fall into the same labyrinth I have, while I sit here writing, trying to pen-it-in. I keep spinning around every third measure with the impulse to name drop yet another flavor, genre or artist-reference-point: electro-pop, folky-circus romps, theatrical space-opera.
It feels like some unassuming lysergic tale of starry night woods-wandering, its vocals gruff and whirling in some numbing haze at some points, but at other times downright twee and sashaying into the delectable na-na-na pop whimsy choruses. It welds the hot bubbling seam between the booming weirdo-barked blues plates of Bowie (see the spaced out Low-like odyssey), Beck (think the lost middle-ground of Mutations and Sea Change bossanova-inflected dirges) and Tom Waits (you could flail your arms in some Small Change-recalling sermon)...(Hell, we can throw some Danny Elfman in there, for any Tim Burton dorks - only take that and wring it with this strange swath of druggy-country twang.)
...but the baffling thing is, for how organic Waits may be in his shamanistic growls and strung-out-nocturnal piano balladry - Ben only provides that illusion, but he is able to create a similar feeling based solely on the intricate arrangement of his synths and drum machines. This is music for the night, rapt in that shooting-star-gazing robe, but far from straight dream-pop, or even dream-pop revival - it may swell with drowsy swoons and beats may sway and undulate under a delicate, blunting fuzz, but this is closer to singer-songwriter traditional-pop - warbled with an almost entirely digitzied orchestration of peaking, poking, careening cadres of blurting, gurgling synths, overlapped nicely with unassuming acoustic guitars and a steady bass line. Spacey waltzes, circus-y blues, music for the in between spaces, both physically and mentally.
The album is recorded under Bones - the moniker of singer/songwriter Ben Christensen - a Scrummage affiliate - who has recently changed the name to King Christenstein the 10th
Posted by jeff milo at 11:40 AM