Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dead Man's Bones


So thanks to a lovely blog called The Singing Lamb, I am now in the know about a fantastic up and coming band called Dead Man's Bones.

Here are the things you need to know. Their MySpace page accurately describes their sound as gothic/gospel/showtunes. They feature a children's choir. The band includes Zach Shields and Ryan Gosling. Yeah. I'm talking about that Ryan Gosling.

Did I just blow your mind?

But let's get real. Because I really don't want to be all jazzed about this band just because it's got an extremely talented and fantastic-looking fellow in the lineup. So let's pro/con it.

PROS

- This is really cool music, guys. Seriously. "In the Room Where You Sleep" is catchy and thumping and ghoulish. "For Weddings and Funerals", with its accordion and wavering vocals, sounds like a mix of Gogol Bordello and Islands.
- It's exciting music and it sounds like they had good times writing and recording it.
- Judging by the three songs I've heard, they're not one-trick ponies. Yes they can do the bass-vocalish chamber pop stuff, but they've also got a song like "Paper Ships" that is stripped down and adorable and full of warm-breath "ba-ba-da-da"s [it reminds me a lot of lo-fi, sunshiney Beulah goodness].

CONS

- On his website [link below], Ryan Gosling posted a song he wrote himself ["Put Me in the Car"] aaand... his voice is completely different than it sounds in Dead Man's Bones. I knew he was affecting his voice somewhat when I listened to "In the Room", but... it's a big difference from "Put Me in the Car." So I don't know how I feel about his vocal wishy-washyness. I most certainly prefer his DMB style, though.
- The whole thing is -kinda- gimmicky. Children's choir. Animal face masks. You know.

THE VERDICT

I have recognized and reconciled with the vocal incongruities and gimmicks.

Because when it comes down to it I really do enjoy what I've heard from this band so far and am anxious to hear the rest. But, for all I know they could only have three great songs and the rest of the album will be total crap.

However. I'm choosing to be optimistic. I think Dead Man's Bones show a lot of promise. And they're just fun to listen to. So if you've got any hang-ups about actors-come-musicians or gothic motifs in popular song, just let them go and give your ears something nice.

mp3: In the Room Where You Sleep by Dead Man's Bones

other links: MySpace, website, download two more DMB songs from Ryan Gosling Online, and check out this great live video of Shields, Gosling and a bunch o' kids performing "In the Room Where You Sleep."

And then let me know what you think.


Thanks for stopping by,
Alie

2 comments:

incideus said...

oh my.

DMB is very intriguing. the live track on myspace hooked me instantly. you're definitely right about the vocal hook, that's something that can ruin a record.

i'm listening to "For Weddings and Funerals" and i'm rightly enchanted. like a more rocking, more haunted Beirut... the songwriting is top notch, regardless of Gosling's vocal styling.

thanks for the turn on!

Alie said...

Intriguing is a good word for them. Also, good call on the Beirut comparison. It'd be great to see DMB and Beirut do something together at some point.

And you hit it on the head, the thing that underlies the sound that I just couldn't quite pin point: these are just really well-written and well-constructed songs.

Thanks for the comment!