Bones Of Man

Equador

Pegdoll, 2016

http://www.facebook.com/equadormusic

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/11/2016

The blood of Zero 7 courses through the veins of Bones Of Man very much. After all, one half of Equador is Henry Binns from Zero 7. The other half is singer-songwriter Bo Bruce, who was a runner-up on the talent show The Voice UK. Between Binns and Bruce, they have created a refined and chilled-out pop album that is elegant without being extravagant.

Now, one normally wouldn’t expect a star of a talent show to be fronting a no-name indie band. It is undeniable that this breed of performers has great singing voices with a mass appeal (otherwise they wouldn’t be contestants in a competition that is voted by the people), and as such, quirkiness isn’t necessarily something that these singers embrace in their art. These traits hold true in the case of Bruce’s vocals on this album. And the music respects this and works around it.nbtc__dv_250

Take for instance, “For Always,” “No End,” and “Thin Air,” three cuts that are emotional and a bit too sugary in their melodiousness; they are also plain, sounding like generic pop music. These songs are just great for Bruce’s “pop singer” vocals; she sounds, well, like a performer on a show like The Voice, with vocals that would win anyone’s heart, supported by music that is “safe.”

Then there is the rest of Bones Of Man, where the downtempo “trip hop” sound that is a bit darker and more adventurous, dominates; and which ostensibly presents the album’s best numbers: “Avalon,” which is the most Zero 7-like track on the album, is super-chilled and super-cool with its retro synthesizers; “Blood” is also a chilled-out and seductive Zero 7-esque number with breezy acoustic guitars; “Winter” is the album’s gloomiest and most haunting cut; “Bones Of Man,” with its cool “tabla” percussive element, is super-groovy; and “Symmetry” has heavy synths, adding a bit of electropop flair to the album. As interesting and cool as these tracks are musically, though, it is Bruce’s beautiful vocals that make them much more amazing.

Between the music, production, and vocals, Bones Of Man sounds classy and sophisticated. Bruce and Binns are a married couple in real life. But even in their professional lives, they seem to be made for each other. The musical chemistry between the two is simply excellent here, much to the delight and enjoyment of the album’s listeners.

Rating: A-

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