A Fool for Everyone
Though he, like many others, moved to New York City as soon as he could, Mike Bones is from New Jersey. Bloomfield, or Belleville, or maybe Bayonne. Somewhere around theresomewhere not far from a good view of the Manhattan skyline. You can hear it in his lyrics. Only a boy from New Jersey could write and sing a song called "Today the World Is Worthy of My Loathing."
It's the first track from his recently released album, A Fool for Everyone, and it starts with a guitar solo. The solo is played well and doesn't last too long. We get to hear it again later in the song, expanded and soaring and victorious, like a good J Mascis solo. The video for "Today the World Is Worthy of My Loathing" was created by Joe DeNardo, whose band, Growing, shares space with Mike Bones over at the excellent Social Registry label.
I've got the album on vinyl. The vocals are slightly forward, and Bones tends to extend his vowels in a way that some might find annoying. "Hate and shaaaaaaame fiiiiiiiiiiiiiill me, much more than looooove." But I don't mind. It's a boozy drawl that gets the point across, and works best when complemented by very tasteful violin and outstanding trumpet. For the most part, there is a fine separation of instruments with good clarity and impact, though the drums sometimes sound a bit congested and cymbals lack some room to breathe. And Mike Bones does a good job with meter and rhyme:
In the darkest form of love's revenge,
In the faintest light where sorrow ends,
There was never hesitation on my part.
Time proceeds relentlessly and my looks ain't what they used to be,
And fate has made a fortress of my heart.
One of many highlights is "What I Have Left" (track 1, side b), which, with its gorgeously textured guitars, propulsive keys and percussion, swooning horns, brass, and backing vocals, approaches the more grandiose movements of Arcade Fire's Funeral, while remaining focused and compelling. Listening on the hi-fi, all of these elements come together to create a stirring whole.
My soul once was blessed, but it didn't take, I guess,
So, I'll deal with what I have left.