Album Reviews

Mike Bones – A Fool For Everyone

(Vice) UK release date: 2 February 2009

In these troubled times it’s all to easy to rail against the social injustices of the world. Frankly, there’s not enough social disobedience filtering through into music at the moment, but surely it’s only time. Still, why be angry at the world about a little think like money, when it’s far grander to do so on the basis of a broken heart?

Mike Bones opens up A Fool For Everyone with the fantastically nihilistic Today The World Is Worthy of My Loathing. Yes, yes and yes – hating the world done in a beautifully stylistic and emotional way is evidently the way to go. In this instance, Bones displays his authority as a guitarist and a poignant vocalist.

Epically stoned and fabulously scored it promises much and delivers. It’s rare to hear a guitarist capable of emulating the best of J Mascis’ licks, but Bones does it with aplomb and infuses the song with a sense of pent up frustration and a weepy kind of love.

Considering he’s been described as New York’s best guitarist there’s precious little evidence of it on A Fool For Everyone (apart from the aforementioned Worthy of My Loathing). Clearly Bones has his eyes set on being described as New York’s best songwriter, something that recent single What I Have Left suggests could be a distinct possibility.

Building slowly from a hugely understated introduction, it’s a familiar tale of loneliness and self-deprecation. Introducing a piano and strings midway through, the emotion starts to swell towards an outpouring. As soon as the drums make a rolling break for it, we’re approaching Sigur R�s territory. It thunders towards a climax that guarantees a fair few damp eyes and underpants.

Trying to follow What I Have Left, the mournful Much More Like Love struggles to make its presence felt despite a violin that sounds like it’s been fitted with Bones’ heartstrings and a slightly off-kilter New Orleans funereal bounce that punctuates the song.

Give Up On Guitars is similarly down-beat. Sounding as if it’s been scored by a suicidal Russian dissident who’s last wish is to play violin. “There’s a lot of people singing, but I don’t care who they are,” Bones intones like a Bob Dylan who still practices what he preaches with regards to everybody getting stoned.

“Do you think I’m not aware I practice a lesser art?” It’s the kind of self effacing style you come to expect from him the further you immerse yourself in his work. He then produces a cracking little guitar solo provides adequate evidence that he clearly shouldn’t give up on guitars. Has he even heard this record?

A Fool For Everyone is a great introduction to an artist who clearly has a lot to offer. At times it may seem like the most depressing easy listening record you’ve ever heard, but there’s plenty of depth and deft touches here to make it well worth checking out.

So stop worrying about the recession, and think of poor old Mike Bones, he’s clearly in a world of hurt. “Everybody’s always coming down on me” he sings full of sorrow on the album’s closer. Wouldn’t it be nice to buck the trend and help out the terminally depressed Mike Bones?

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Mike Bones – A Fool For Everyone