Eighteen months or so ago I reviewed the self-titled EP from Rival Bones. A superb, primal groover of a thing, it was – I pronounced at the time: “….top stuff. Make no bones about it. Two, in this case, is a magic number.”
RB are, you see, a duo. Apparently, frontman James Whitehouse was originally auditioning for a five piece band when former Boss Kelloid man Chris Thomason walked in. That was it, and they were a pair.
Now, these days, I guess, you can’t really mention duo’s without saying “Royal Blood”, and I am not going to, either. They are the elephant in the room (or in their case, of course, the arena) throughout this, but goodness me Rival Bones are a mighty fine band.
The brilliant “Beautiful/Dangerous” kicks things off with a hum, a confidence and a mighty fuzzy riff,. (actually it literally starts with a cowbell, which is worth bonus points alone) similar to the should have been huge Zico Chain.
There is a poetic quality to the lyrics too “please believe me, if you can, I need to be a better man, but need and want may fight another day” sings Whitehouse and that is typical of the clever wordplay throughout.
“Tie So Tight” whips up a real storm, and like all duo’s there is something a little raw – and yes unhinged – about this. “What are we dying for?” goes the plaintive cry and there seems to be a sense of disconnect and frustration here.
“Pull Me Under” has a few more harmonic qualities – mostly down to the backing vocals – and the action packed 13 minutes ends with “Hot Blooded”. Those expecting a Foreigner cover will be disappointed, but if you suck it and see (sorry!) you will find a real fast paced throb about this and Whitehouse’s guitar work is right on top form.
I am – as I have said before on this site – predisposed to like EP’s. It brings back memories of 20 years ago, rummaging through record shops and finding brilliant B-sides. Those days are gone, but Rival Bones give notice of their many talents again here, and “Strangefruit” is another very tasty offering.