Bone Architecture – Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Bone Architecture might sound like an album forged of underground musicians slaving over their art in close proximity, huddled together in shaded rooms that smell of booze and sweat, of intimate collaborations, of sonic synapses sparking as flashes of improvised creativity zap acroos the room between our two protagonists. Nothing could be further from the truth and the album was put together during lockdown with the two artists collaborating digitally to cross not just imposed walls of isolation but an actual ocean.

But Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher are nothing if not kindred spirits, soul-punk brothers in arms, and the gods of music always find a way of connecting those who need to be connected, and the result, i this case, was Bone Architecture, an album built on warped Waitsian shadows, Cave’s apocalyptic blues, Cohen’s dark poeticism as well as their own weave of Stygian grooves.

The title track kicks things off, a blend of brooding and blasted blues and raw-edged jazz salvos, gothic whispers and bruised brass blasts. And it is the perfect scene-setter for this beguiling musical journey. There’s Someone Tryin’ To Get In is dystopian blues, raw and raucous, full of edge and angst and by the time we get to Termite City, the echo of Lou Reed has joined this last party before the end of the world, all avant-garde and experimental, claustrophobic and cool.

Hide The Knives is a caustic sing-along, buoyant yet troubling, spirling and hypnotic, slowly heading off into darker, madder parts of the brain, a concept pushed even further with the stark Horror Film House. There is even room for a heavy and horrifying take on Pink Floyd’s Arnold Layne to round things off.

What a great album, dark and delicious, full of rough edges and spikey intent, raw and challenging, soulful in a less than obvious sort of way, drenched in punk spirit and rock and roll attitude. What more do you need?

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