Roselit Bone “Blister Steel” (Friendship Fever, 2017)

Roselit Bone have been around since 2013, formed by frontman Joshua McCaslin and drummer Ben Dahmes and growing into a nine piece band, the group have had a fair amount of time to hone their sound and that time, was time well spent. It’s a rarity to find a group that are able to take a tried and tested sound and somehow flip it on its head to turn it into something so exciting, refreshing and original which is exactly what Roselit Bone do on ‘Blister Steel’.

The record begins with an intense folk ballad led almost entirely by the unique, operatic crooning of Joshua and from there onward they blow the doors off. Second track By The Glint Of Your Horns sounds like something from a Tarantino movie with a sweeping mariachi rhythm complete with perfectly placed trumpets to give the track some extra depth and immediately afterwards, we are treated to the infectiously raucous My First Name with it’s foot-stomping back beat and reverb drenched vocals and at this point it becomes evident that throughout the record, you never know what is going to come next but rest assured the only foot they put wrong is with the fourth track Leech Child, another predominantly acoustic track which falls a bit flat after the momentum building from the previous two tracks. Thankfully, things pick up again with the more traditional country/honky-tonk double bill of Where Our Cast Light Doubles and Tie-Dye Cowboy – both of which are an indication of the sheer talent of the group as its clear to see that not only are they a talented group of musicians but they’re capable of lending their talent to a number of sub-genres and pull it off with near-perfection. Album closer and potentially the best song on ‘Blister Steel’ Like So Much Garbage captures the timless sound of 1950’s/1960’s doo-wop  and rock and roll without sounding like an imitation rather a band enjoying playing great sounding songs from an era take some of their influence from.

‘Blister Steel’ is largely driven by the diverse vocals of the incredibly talented frontman who manages to deliver country ballads, bluesy numbers and tender folk songs with ease whilst maintaining his own unique sound, in particular on tracks like Like So Much Garbage where he croons, howls and whispers as if just to really show what he can do, however, this isn’t to take away from the rest of the group, who are brought to life by the crystal-clear production which allows every aspect of the record and every instrument to shine through with the spotlight it deserves which is quite the challenge when recording with a nine piece band! Each song is carefully crafted and every instrument is used effectively to create a layered, rich tapestry of sound which never feels overcrowded due to every note present being played with such thought and precision.

Overall, Roselit Bone have created an absolute monster of an album with so much depth and diversity, both lyrically and sonically, that it is difficult to say what makes it so special, just listen to it, revel in it’s genius and look forward to whatever comes next.

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