Local CD Review: Blond Bones

In Music, Music Reviews, Program Notes by Matthew Everettleave a COMMENT


Just who or what Blond Bones is depends on when you ask, or when you see them perform—sometimes it’s a duo, sometimes it’s a full band. They call it “a music collective,” and the group’s history reflects that loose collaborative vibe. Blond Bones was first put together to back singer/songwriter Joey English, who then took a break from making music, so songwriters Christian Barnett and Joseph Rebrovick kept the name, recruited some friends (including English, whose sabbatical didn’t last long), and recorded this debut EP.

Few of Days is both modest and ambitious—it’s a concept EP, something you don’t see often. Over 23 minutes of reverb-heavy indie folk, Barnett and Rebrovick tell the story of a Southern family facing all the troubles fictional Southern families face: poverty, guilt, betrayal, modern disconnection, addiction to pills and booze. It’s all pretty po-faced Appalachian Gothic 101—depressing, nostalgic, stuffed full of biblical allusions. The title comes from the book of Job, in case you missed the existential/spiritual stakes here. The music, too, is a little too familiar. Whispered verses give ways to big dramatic choruses, often interrupted by late Wilco-style experimental, atmospheric mid-song interludes. It’s crafted to feel intimate, but the lack of subtlety smothers any real personal connection to the songs.

There’s a lot of promise on Few of Days—English shows off some excellent guitar-playing, and Barnett’s mid-range voice is suited to moody music with big melodies. Barnett and Rebrovick also display real talent for complex arrangements, but the ones on Few of Days aren’t served by the demo-quality recording here.

And that’s probably the best way to think of Few of Days—as a demo. It’s an early sketchbook from a young band that’s full of potential but will only benefit from experience.

Senior Editor Matthew Everett manages the Knoxville Mercury's arts & entertainment section, including the comprehensive calendar section—Knoxville’s go-to guide for everything worth doing in the area. You can reach Matthew at matthew@knoxmercury.com.

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