Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Black Bone Child have got the blues(-rock) down.

May 26, 2009

Black Bone Child of Austin, TX, the self-proclaimed “Music Capital of the World,” have crafted an extremely fine piece of pure, unwavering blues-rock with their self-titled and self-released album.

To sum it up, Black Bone Child sounds like the Black Keys amped into a testosterone-fueled rage and channeling it into an acoustic/electric blend that evokes the classic blues style of greats like Muddy Waters and B.B. King, while presenting a hard rock edge that gives the band a genuinely unique sound.

The album is solely the work of the two key members of Black Bone Child: Donny James on guitars and vocals, and Kenneth M. on bass, drums, and harmonica. These two men are extremely talented, from songwriting to performance. James’ guitar riffs play like a fusion of blues, metal, and alt rock all melted into one. There’s not a single song on the album that the guitars don’t come off as impressive at least. Even though guitar, bass, drums and harmonica are the only instruments used in the album, the sound is incredibly rich and tightly composed. No use of instrumentation, from the background licks of acoustic guitar in some tracks to the constant chug of (what sounds to me like) the distorted acoustic bass, sounds superfluous in any way, and none of it falls flat.

The best way to describe the music is adrenaline pumping. I dare anyone who listens to this album to not start tapping his/her toes, bobbing his/her head or to simply start dancing. I found the album to be a particularly good companion to my workout this morning. This is just pure sonic fun.

There is a slight problem in the brevity of the songs, and the similar styles and similar lyrics in some of them can make the album sort of run together. However, this doesn’t really distract from the album, because it’s only at selected points, like the tracks “Light Up the Sky” and “Watch It Burn,” which may have been meant to flow into one another anyway. But since this is the only real complaint I could find in eleven tracks, I’d go ahead and say it doesn’t really matter all that much.

Now, I can only say that I hope Black Bone Child find their way up to Oklahoma at some point, because this album has definitely made me want to see them live. Well, I can also say that you should listen to this album.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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