Tuesday, 4 December 2012

White Bone Rattle - Creature of Curiosity (album review)

White Bone Rattle is a psychedelic rock band from Kent, England who emphasize the airy, melodic and harmonized side of the genre rather than the progressive side.  The band generally works within the confines of pop song structures but creates rather expansive soundscapes through which to move in the confined spaces.  They take less inspiration from their own British psychedelic forefathers of the 1960s than their American counterparts.

The album opens with a strong one two three combo, putting the different aspects of the band's melodic and groovy sound on display with the airy and dreamy yet still bouncy "Eyes of the Island" first backed with the garage rockin' "Milk".  They then move into bluesy groove rock territory with "Miss Mist", the song chosen as the album's first single.  Any of these tracks would have given a strong and favorable first impression of the album.  Taken together in a single dose, it's one of the most potent 3-song introductions to an album I've ever heard.  You're dreaming, you're rocking, you're grooving, it's like a great full day condensed down into 8 or 9 minutes of music.

The title track then follows the path firmly established in the opening salvo with a melodic and slow groovin' cruise above the clouds.  "The River Will Rise" gets things back on a psychedelic track, but as the shortest number on the album, the high doesn't last long, but it sets things up for what follows.  "The Green Hour" opens with a terrific, Leaf Hound-like riff that tumbles into a slow and melodic psychedelic skyscape which manages expertly to both build and downshift during the airy and crash-heavy chorus.

"Horse" ratchets up the psychedelia with the best elements of the genre: melody, close harmony, echo, fuzz and organ.  All the requisite ingredients are in place for a classic study of the genre and this song is the true culmination of the band's psychedelic side.  It also features a nice fuzzy freakout jam snippet as an outro.

"Sleep Talking Fool" finds the group back in fuzzy groove rock territory, it's a nice place to visit, but unexpectedly the song fades out abruptly.  "Taken By the Movement" is a psychedelic blast awash in echoed harmony, featuring a slow moving verse that travels along a sparse tunnel of rhythm which sporadically explodes in colors provided by guitar and builds to a heavy blues rock bridge and chorus.  It's a great cut and a fine exhibition of song building.  "Madam Mim"  is a spare and effect laden guitar and voice showcase along the lines of vintage Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain or Brian Jonestown Massacre which explodes halfway through in a flurry of crashing cymbals and cruises to a big dreamy finish.

White Bone Rattle merge melody with atmosphere to create a truly memorable and top shelf album in the neo-psychedelic genre.  There are moments to rock out and there are moments to space out on this album but mostly it's a laid back affair of midtempo and dreamy psychedelic rock.  This won't appeal to every metal fan but this is just the kind of thing that I like to hear from time to time in my mellower moods and is an album I can see myself going back to five years down the road or beyond.

Highlights include: "Milk" and "Horse"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 37:49

From: Maidstone, Kent, England

Genre: Psychedelic, Stoner, Blues, Rock

Reminds me of: Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, (early) Black Keys, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dead Meadow, Spacemen 3

Release Date: November 26, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Drift off to sleep and find yourself floating in the sky.

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