London-bred (and now LA-based) duo BONES UK release their self-titled album on 12 July. They say every song is a chance to speak their minds with total freedom, to shed light on the extreme disconnect between the status quo and the far more glorious world inside their heads. “We feel like we have a duty to use our platform to talk about the things we care about, and hopefully end up empowering and inspiring people, and help give them the confidence to be who they really are,” says vocalist Rosie Bones.
With their long-awaited debut album, Rosie and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg confront everything from the beauty industrial complex to toxic masculinity to music scene sexism. It is a riff-heavy collision of rock-and-roll and rough-edged electronic music, and it works. Here are my initial thoughts about each track:
Opener “Beautiful Is Boring” is a track that the duo have had in their repertoire for a while now, as I saw them play it live when they supported PVRIS back in 2016. Its 2019 re-make sounds great, and the sinister grooves are catchy as hell as well as an anthemic chorus.
“Filthy Freaks” has a bit more of a dance beat but still retains the grainy, distorted sound dripping with bad-ass empowering attitude that has become Bones UK’s trademark. “Pretty Face” is another track that I remember hearing the duo play in 2016, and really enjoying. It’s 2019 re-vamp is everything I was hoping it would be. Meanwhile, “Leach” is a new one on me. It features a groovy guitar riff.
“I’m Afraid of Americans” is a David Bowie cover which they have really made their own, with the Bones UK flavour flowing throughout. They released a video for the track on 3 June, which you can check out here.
“Souls” is a much slower pace than the other tracks on the album. I can see it played live with lighters held aloft and gently swaying while “Skeletone” picks the pace back up a little but is still a much slower song than some of the others on the album.
“Choke” has a dance vibe, though, of course, features Bones UK’s trademark distorted guitar sound, whereas “Creature” is sludgy and sexy with a 90s-esque chorus.
“Black Blood” starts with a more acoustic guitar sound and is another lighters-in-the-air sort of track. Perhaps they will play it acoustically live? Rosie Bones’ vocals really shine on this track, and I enjoyed the subtle inclusion of strings. It is a bit of a sad ballad but I like it.
“Limbs” is strongly reminiscent of “The Skeleton Dance” song I remember from my childhood – this bone is connected to that bone etc etc. The groovy guitars are back and it is hard not to nod your head along to this one.
Closing track “Girls Can’t Play Guitar” is another older track that I saw them play in 2016 and I personally have been desperate to have the studio version in my ears ever since! It apparently came about after a comment made to the girls when they were gigging in London. They sure proved that guy wrong – Carmen Vandenberg in particular plays guitar like an absolute demon.
BONES UK’s debut album is dirty, sticky, sexy, groovy and empowering. I like it, but check it out for yourself. BONES UK is out on 12 July via Sumerian Records and is available to pre-order in a range of snazzy bundles, or can be pre-saved on some of the usual music streaming sites. Hopefully the duo will return to the UK soon to play their tunes loudly in our faces, after their run of shows in America during July and August promoting the album. Tour details available via their website.
BONES UK Track List:
- Beautiful Is Boring
- Filthy Freaks
- Pretty Waste
- I’m Afraid of Americans
- Black Blood
- Girls Can’t Play Guitar