Yelling Bones is Gerry McGovern, Brian Malone, Fionn McDonnell and Myles McDonnell. They are an Irish band that released Outside. I was reading about what other people were saying about them on their Bandcamp page. They have been getting comparisons to bands like Spiritualized and Sigur Rós. Both of those comparisons are right on the money but are also too limiting to their sound.
Yelling Bones makes music that isn’t supposed to feel frivolous or even fun. It’s going for a cathartic release of human emotion. The songs, even if you don’t listen to a single word, will give you the sense the music is exploring pain, pleasure, hope, nostalgia and well the human condition. This isn’t easy. When bands fall short of such benchmarks that bands like Sigur Rós and Spiritualized set, things can go south fast. That grand epic moment the band hopes to create can feel melodramatic, contrived and at its worst just straight up cheesy to where you feel embarrassed for them.
The album starts off with “Let's Swim” which is an ambient soundscape of sorts. They are attempting to create this sense of awe, nostalgia and melancholy. It’s a slow burn for sure and gets more dramatic with every turn. The song slowly starts to escape the darkness it embraces at first and eventually seamlessly finds seeds of hope. This slow transition in mood is one of the band's best moments. There is no denying the song is way beyond verse/chorus/verse type stuff.
They provide some much needed levity with “The Loner.” The song sounds a lot like Explosions in the Sky decided to attempt utilizing a vocalist. I liked the vocal hook and the Irish accent really worked for me.
“Consequential Butterfly” was the highlight. The song is very well structured and also melds many different emotions. I loved the vocal melody. This felt like a good place for the band and I might argue this feels the most like them. The performances felt natural and they didn’t seem to go for such extreme, intense emotions.
Up next is reverb laced “In the Moment” which had a very post-rock type feel to it. They get subdued with “A Good Man” which perhaps sounds something like a B-side from Spiritualized. “Outside the Window” on the other hand is where the band has their most similarities to Sigur Rós. They got moody with the soundscape “15 Minutes.” An album like this kind of has to close with something epic. The don’t disappoint with the sixteen-minute song “Jason and Phil (Repetition Makes the Sea Strong.).”
Bands like Sigur Rós and Spiritualized have a signature sound. Sigur Rós in particular is one of the most singular sounding bands to ever exist period. Yelling Bones on this debut release seemed to be getting a sense of who they are and seem to be exploring different ways they can define their own signature sound. They don’t get much further than exploring but there are plenty of poignant, beautiful, hopeful, nostalgic and cathartic moments in that journey of discovery. Recommended.
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