PDX garage pop outfit, Mr. Bones, release their self-titled cassette via Good Cheer Records.
The debut full-length opens up with “Lurch,” a track that runs just under a minute. The minimalistic intro starts with just vocals and guitar, then adds a lo-fi sample pad beat. It almost sounds like it could be a track from fellow PDX songsters The Morals.
As the album moves forward, things get louder and gnarlier, sonically and lyrically. Tracks like “Glaring at U” and the single, “You Don’t Have a Skull of Your Own” blast through your speakers, and straight into your heart. Straight until the end, Mr. Bones pair noise with catchy melodies, straddling the line between destruction and summer-pop.
Many of the lyrics, like the songs themselves, are stream-of-thought, and span subject matter such as looking at strangers on the internet (“Another Fucking Summer”), generic people, love, and loneliness.
The album feels like they recorded everything live in someone’s basement, which suits the rawness and excitement of the band. This grungy, DIY vibe gives each song an added sense of urgency and earnesty -- a rare change of pace from the often-overproduced pop (etc) album. Seems like a perfect touch to release it on a cassette tape. They even have hand-written lyrics on the inside of the liner!
Guitarist and singer Leland Brehl comes from the punk side of the Portland music scene, which might help explain the emphasis on energy, over clarity. Expect driving guitars and crashing drums, with vocals JUST outside of the focal point throughout the album.
Overall it’s a pretty smash-and-grab album, with short, hard-hitting songs (and a few mellow ones interspersed) -- the longest track on the album is just over three minutes, so things move quickly throughout, often ending abruptly and moving immediately to the next song/feeling. So if grunge-pop via punk is your jam, Mr Bones’ self-titled tape is definitely worth checking out. Also, an entire listen only takes about twenty five minutes -- I bet you have that kind of time if you’re reading this.
Good Cheer Records is a new label from Blake Hickman (of KPSU) and Morgan Troper, and so far hosts only Mr. Bones and Teenspot in their lineup.
From the label: “The cassette is being released on February 10th, The band is playing an in store at Music Millenium at 6 PM that evening to celebrate the release. More info about our label can be found at www.goodcheerrecords.com”
Written by Chandler Strutz
Photo of Mr. Bones by Yousef Hatlani