Chelsey Louise - vocals/keys, Robert Ciuca - guitar, Ben Foos - bass, Matthew Foos - drums. What is Fairy Bones? It’s an interesting question for me. They seem to be a band that is hard to define at times. At moments they resemble a pop punk, almost “Paramore-esque”, rock outfit. Other times they sounds like a female led version of The Who. There’s elements of the 60s, the 70s, 80s, and 90s. One thing is for sure, it’s rock. The idea “Rock” music can sound so generic in an era of music that has become obsessed with sub-genrezation. Distorted guitars, splashy drums, bouncy bass lines, belted melodies...these are all elements I associate with “rock music”. Fairy Bones embodies all of those qualities. That’s not to say there isn’t more there, but no band in Phoenix “rocks” quite like Fairy Bones. Dramabot is the first full length album by Fairy Bones. Produced by Bob Hoag, Dramabot sets out to define the undefined. The production is crisp. Trademark Bob-Drum sound (reverb), lots of tambourine, and dramatic vocals. Everything gridded out and perfectly in time. It sounds like a Bob album, which is about as good as an album recorded in AZ can sound, although I can’t help but wonder what this band would sound like with a lower fidelity recording. When I see Fairy Bones live, the most interesting parts were the elements that leaned a little towards 70s punk. This album was recorded and mixed more like a 90s grunge album. Loud drums, distorted guitar, and dynamic arrangements. I would like to see what someone like Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers) would do with a Fairy Bones track. Paul recently produced a Burning of Rome album, who will support Fairy Bones at the release of Dramabot, January 31 at the Rogue Bar. But, I digress. This album sounds good, and that’s what matters. On to the songs The songwriting on Dramabot is a mature and developed version of the band. The songs are dynamic and theatrical, something the band very was obviously going for. Chelsey’s voice fits this style perfectly. Her musical theater background is evident on every track. The album starts out right as well, with what I think are the two best tracks. Demons and Dogs, the opening number is upbeat, and has a dramatic ascending to descending progression that kind of reminds me of Zeppelin, although the track itself sounds more like the spaciest U2 with Roger Daltrey on vocals. Matthew Foos shines on the drums for this track. You and You Again is my favorite track on this album. It’s a riff-based electro-rock track that has a Chemical Brothers/Garbage feel to it. Ben Foos, on bass stands out on this track, as does the production, which is spacey with an edge. Chelsey is singing about something very familiar to us all, which is thinking you’ve moved on but ending up back where you began. “God it’s so simple for you. When it’s over it’s not really over, it’s just you and you again.” This track is really good and I hope that the band is not afraid to further explore the type of thought process that went into writing this song. Waiting is the most 70’s rock the band gets. It’s a piano based ballad, with Chelsey belting about getting fucked with. This track, from what I know, is one of the oldest tracks written by Chelsey to make this album. The arrangement bounces between piano with Chelsey singing the “I’m sorry” refrain and heavy distorted git-rocking. Chelsey sounds great, but the arrangement falls flat. Fairy Bones at their best is creative, keeping you on your toes, constantly making you rethink the conclusions about the band that the last song brought you to. This song in comparison, comes off as predictable and doesn’t go anywhere too surprising. This is the point in the album where, in my opinion, Fairy Bones goes grunge. Slide 2.0 has the feel of Nirvana’s Breed with some really great guitar work by Robert Ciuca. Jack reminded me of the harder rocking Pixies songs and Yeah Pretty Yeah was grungey reggae. Trinkets was another track where vocals and drums really shine. For a band that doesn’t seem to be chasing trends, they’re right on top of the potential forthcoming 90s revival. These four tracks perfectly embody that new sound. Butchery is the track that sounded the most like musical theater to me. Although that sound is evident through the whole album, something about this track had a Stephen Sondheim feel to it. Overall, this album has a great sound and I think captures the dramatic vision that the band had going into the studio. It’s not such a bad thing to be undefined. A good band will keep an audience guessing, something that Fairy Bones shows they are perfectly capable of with Dramabot. A band showing growth while maintaining success is a rare thing, and Fairy Bones is a band that has grown leaps and bounds in the short time they have been together. So what is Fairy Bones? A really good rock band, I’d say. Catch Fairy Bones at their Dramabot CD Release Show with The Burning of Rome and Gospel Claws Saturday, January 31, 2015 at The Rogue Bar. website: Fairy Bones on Facebook
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