Review: Born Without Bones – ‘Young At The Bend’
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Young at the Bend is the patiently awaited and constructed third full-length from Born Without Bones that follows 2013’s visceral and unpredictable album Baby. Four years removed from their last release, expectedly, the band has not simply picked up where they last finished. Young at the Bend’s noisy forty-second introduction in conjunction with its eagerly melodic opener “Takes Time” is an obvious indication of a drastically reinvigorated band, far removed from the solemn, menacing plea that closed Baby.
Young at the Bend is a total rejuvenation of the band’s sound, not a reinvention of it. Take for example the album’s best back-to-back songs, “Fool” and “Shy Away”, which are logical maturations from past work, but are more polished and not as erratic than what came before it. The sharp and repetitive guitar lines in “Fool” are proficiently captivating to hold curiosity throughout the three-minutes; whereas, the dynamic, minute long bridge in “Shy Away” is uniquely anticipatory. Given the lengthy intermission between releases, therefore, it is logical that Young at the Bend is a bit more contemplative and less instinctual.
The best result of what was an obviously more holistic and self-conscious writing process for the band takes form in Born Without Bones’ most fulfilling song to date, the album’s chillingly reflective closer “What I Was Missing.” The song starts off with lead singer, Scott Ayotte, grievingly proclaiming: “Wish you could’ve seen all the things I could see, wish you could’ve been there laughing with me.” Although the approach is more reserved, as opposed to a song like “Young” — which features Ayotte jubilantly screaming throughout, here, the somber musicianship of guitarist John Brucato and bassist Jim Creighton lays the tonal foundation for the song’s heavy subject matter. The song slowly builds and unsurprisingly ruptures over angry lyrics ripe with accusation and nostalgia, “If you want to stop the screaming, then sing it with me…”
Young at the Bend is an album full of vitality. The album’s lead single, “Muscle”, is an accessibly fun pop-rock song that anyone would be hard-pressed to dislike. The band’s range of influence is heard on songs like the instrumental “Blue Prince” which is reminiscent of Minus the Bear, to the slow-building “Romance” which is more akin to Third Eye Blind and comes off as a follow-up to the band’s beloved song “The Camera Turns.”
Overall, Young at the Bend is a dynamic, measured album that ranges from soft to loud and melodic to aggressive. Born Without Bones has cautiously skirted an attempt to reinvent the wheel or fix something that’s not broken – they have always possessed a knack to write distinctly addictive songs, however, with Young at the Bend the band has successfully pulsed new life into their sound and started a new chapter.