From a local perspective, good new releases have been few and far between in 2022. It’s not for the lack of talent around the North West; there are pockets of it, no doubt.
All told, it feels like the effects of COVID and post-lockdown, coupled with the arts’ losing battle against a Tory government, are putting a massive strain on everybody – from venues down to the artists, many are barely keeping their heads above water.
Which is why it’s good to see a band like Bones Shake release an album like Bleed. Their second LP in an existence spanning over 10 years, the Manchester three-piece (David J. Brennan, and brothers Andy and Dave Sheffield) make their arrival a timely one.
While the band has unreservedly pay homage to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, their brand of swamp rock has a bit more of an immediate blues vibe to it.
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On opener Hey Hey and later with Girlfriend, these songs feel more Jon Spencer-inspired than Nick Cave himself, with the kind of fuzz-laden madness that just makes you want to let your hair down and rock the fuck out.
Like light peaking through the curtains, the Cave reverence does arrive during the searing title track: a sinister swamp rock swoon (“There’s a devil in my body!”).
Then there’s Give Me Something and Cold Heart – demented hillbilly blues reminiscent of another Australian staple: Beasts of Bourbon. Here, Brennan releases his inner Tex Perkins in quite impressive fashion.
And that continues on the closing track, Car Crash – the kind of song that could have squeezed on to the Beasts‘ seminal work, Sour Mash.
The thing that strikes me with a band like Bones Shake and Bleed is that they produce a sound that very few bands around these parts dare to emulate. Granted, we’ve got plenty of garage-y noise-rock-inspired offerings in the north west (Yammerer, Mondo Trasho), but nothing as swampy and that swings like Bones Shake.
Bleeds might not change the world, but in truth it’s not meant to. It’s all about the alchemy with this band. You sense this is a group of friends getting together and there’s no messing about; just cracking on and writing solid tunes. Bleeds is the kind of record that’s come at the right time. And, let’s be honest, it’s a refreshing proposition to the swathe of cosmic psych rehashes and Soccer Am-inspired indie landfill that doesn’t seem to be abating any time soon.
Bones Shake. Bleed. Get it on.
Bleed is out now via Sister 9 Recordings. Purchase from Bandcamp.
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