Holy Bones – Mary Bue (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

10646771_10152735503048063_2753200912411036431_nAlthough known for a more intimate, piano led, style, Bue’s sixth album, Holy Bones, sees her really throw all caution to the wind and explore a wider creative potential. Inspired in part by nightmares of cleaving a grand piano in half it is an image that acts as a perfect metaphor as she drives the album through a guitar led, full band sound rather than as a keyboard based singer-songwriter. The results are a wonderfully accessible blend of pop and college-rock that references 90’s alternative acts such as Julianna Hatfield and occasionally Throwing Muses as well as the folk-pop of Edie Brickell and Cowboy Junkies in the mellow moments.

It is an album that looks at the trappings of modern life through both the thoughts and reflections of those living it, of desire and following dreams as well as the usual triptych of life, love and loss. It also looks at life from some more abstract viewpoints, of an angel experiencing the human condition from love letters found in the city dump or of re-imagining someone’s life from the contents of their recycling bin.

Holy Bones is an album for the long haul, whilst it is sassy when required, totally accessible and even commercially viable in the bigger scheme of things, it is also an album that gives more upon each play. The lyrical observations and imaginings reveal more each time you contemplate their wider meanings, the musical structures become more embedded within the listener, the songs more memorable, the riffs more infectious, the hooks…well, hookier. There are darker, hidden, depths that take a bit of time to fully appreciate beneath the face value of the songs but once you spend a bit of time exploring the inner secrets of the album it will be one you return to time and time again.

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