Album Review: Mary Bue – Holy Bones
There’s something about the tone on the guitars on Mary Bue’s album Holy Bones that just sounds cool. Not cool as in “groovy man,” but cool as in temperature cool. It’s a great indie rock album to get listeners ready for this fall season.
The opening track’s demand “I want candy – I money” gives an indication of where the album is going. The key lyric “don’t tell me what to do,” shows a seeking soul, trying to find her own way. The attitude-laden guitars show a kind of brashness-beyond-confidence. It’s a narcissistic anthem with a classic early-90s girl-rock flair.
The trashy guitar flavor on “Cheribum” introduce and interesting sound. There’s not much about the song that conjures up images of angelic beings, but it definitely has attitude. “Holy Bones,” the title track, sounds like it’s in the same key as the previous track. The song sounds like it’s a critique of a specific person or movement with religious imagery. “Who will believe you? Who will forgive you?” The song seems to be continuing the personal search and struggle from the first track.
“Heart’s Desire” is a heavier, percussion-based track. The lead vocal is haunting and intentionally dark. The whole sound feels like it’s an attempt to bring weight to the lyrics. The percussive break that picks up the beat a bit is a welcome change to the track. There are some backing vocals on this one that give the sense that it would be a real head banger live.
“Put Up” definitely finds the reverb knob. The lyrics are subdued a bit like a sort of grunge-influenced alt rock sound. The balance between the rhythm section and the keys make for a nice overall alt rock flavor. The following “Archaeology” is much more relaxed. It seems like it was written for someone specific, with lines conjuring up unique memories. The waltz time and quieter tone is a welcome change of pace on the album.
“Veal” is apparently about veganism or vegetarianism. It’s got a lot of angst throughout it. It smacks of a kind of Rage Against the Machine political activism via rock n’ roll. The final track “A Million Moths” is a nice way to finish the album, using a stripped-down and vocal-heavy track. The song holds an impetus for recovery and almost a “send off” for the listener. Like most of the album it turns heavy and drips with sadness or anger.
This is an album for people who prefer a straightforward kind of rock and earnest, often-angry lyrics. It is sure to find fans among the crowd that enjoyed the emergence of 90s alternative rock. Our readers in the Pacific Northwest who miss the old grunge days will enjoy Mary Bue’s work.