Has it really been a year and a half since the last Rival Bones EP? Well, according to my review, yes, it has. Since they stumbled onto my radar with that release, the two-piece have kept themselves busy with regular gigging and now, there’s another aural delight of four tracks to consume at your own pace. Which is to say, loud and often.
Opening track “Beautiful/Dangerous” shows the band are determined to completely outdo their last effort by taking their unique sound and pumping it full of steroids. Indeed, Strangefruit is noticeably shorter than its predecessor, clocking in at a lean thirteen minutes. As such, they batter through all four songs without leaving time to breathe.
Full of anger, power and fuzz, for a two-piece, they’re able to make a sound akin to a band with triple their number (much like fellow two-piece The Hyena Kill, although their styles vary immensely). Gravelly vocals from James Whitehouse mingle with his muscular riffs, laden with groove as he throws them at Chris Tomason’s finessed powerhouse drums.
Elsewhere, “Pull Me Under” brings together the groove with the lope of stoner rock and fires in a heavy dose of modern punk akin to Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fuzzy element to the song, you’d half expect this song to have come from Modern Ruin. It’s got the anthemic quality to it alongside the stomp to have both arenas and clubs enraptured. Meanwhile, “Hot Blooded” aims straight for the stoner/desert rock scene with its mixture of aggression and fuzz and could have easily come from an early Queens of the Stone Age record.
Strangefruit is the perfect example of how a two-piece can develop their sound to keep things interesting without losing the core DNA of it. They’ve also managed to bulk it out to mature it without the need of an additional guitarist or bassist for texture. If anything, Rival Bones have taught every band on the planet how to make a successful follow-up.
Strangefruit is released on 23rd November