With heavy leanings on all aspects guitar, from 60s garage to Dick Dale style Surf jangle, Doug MacDonald and drummer Patty Short offer their eight-track latest, Mr. Bones. The Indie power duo employs their throwback sound; Rock sentiment and musical interplay to create a vintage album feel that evokes sounds of ago.
Jangle electric and backing snare/high hat tandem usher in the album on “Honk Your Horn.” The stripped down sound is much more filling that one would expect and also doesn’t leave any margin for error in the musicality. The groove melody carries through over clever rhyme lyrics through to the intermittent guitar riff fills to the reverb outro. “Social Outcast” opens with chime note work and backing chug before giving way to dreary bent note strum. The verse melody evokes a Surf Rock feel with rapid to staccato percussion beats. Vocally, this sees Doug at the upper range of his vocals and is reminiscent of Roy Orbison or Neil Young. Title track “Mr. Bones” tells the story of a curmudgeon of a man who works a meat counter. Musically, this one follows with the prior tracks but stands out with the anecdotal lyrical matter. Again, the stripped down musicality allows the vocals to stand at the foreground as well as carry the “story” through to its finality. “Shady Avenue” furthers the throwback sound with fuzzy, garage-style electric and the same simplistic percussion beats employed by Meg White; staccato, beat keeping and simple cymbal crashes are the way of the walk rather than intricate fill work. Vocally, the tempo and octave approach a crooner feel while the musicality starts and remains dour through the verses until the lighter feel of the chorus. Again channeling Neil Young, “Disco Demolition” features Doug at the upper range of his vocals over more beat keeping from Patty and slightly jangle strum work and bits of occasional distorted fill work. Finally, Surf Rock meets Brian Setzer a la Stray Cats on “Don’t Turn Around.” The hectic guitar and the frantic snare/ high hat interplay usher the album out to an up-tempo, urgent exit through bent note slide work and the steady chug electric.
The vintage sound, antiquated garage sound and all around Lo Fi feel of the album harkens one back to music of ago (and personally to the Dick Dale and Ventures albums in Dad’s vinyl). I appreciate a modern rendition and I feel Doug and Patty’s sound is supposed to be packaged in this vein. The guitar work is tight and Patty is adept through the breaks and tempo changes. Perhaps most of all, the DIY feel on this one lends an honest organic feel to the tracks whether the lyrical matter is a bit campy or not. I like it for the nostalgia and the commitment to craft of it.
By Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org
I give this 3.5/5 Skopes.