Reviewed by: Geno Thackara
Mixing souped-up electric rock, vintage southern Americana, a little barroom jazz and a touch of voodoo, the Delta Saints may have just given us the most kicking roots album of the year. I’d say it sounds like a fresh act that’s going places, but it seems they’ve been tearing around multiple continents for years already. You wouldn’t know it from the fact that this is just their second album. Actually, that’s probably the reason it doesn’t feel like a second album. Even without an extensive catalogue, they’ve got the kind of chemistry that only grows over time from playing together night after night after night.
That in-the-moment rawness is all over Bones. They also decided to write during the recording sessions instead of coming in with the material already planned. If the results get rough around the edges in spots, it’s still easy to get carried away by their unmistakable enthusiasm as they add each ingredient to their gumbo, from serious blues harmonica and greasy slide guitar to power-rock fuzz. With “Sometimes I Worry” and the infectious single “Heavy Hammer” they sound close to Black Keys arena stomp, but the title song in between shows that they can turn out a minor N’awlins shuffle with the best of ’em. By the spooky centerpiece of “Dust” they’re closer to down-and-dirty swamp territory, drunk with electricity and maybe a bit possessed by the devil. “Berlin” eventually brings it all home with a rustic trance rhythm they could seemingly jam on all night long.
If you’re in the mood for the musical equivalent of a smoky barbecue platter with rich whiskey on the side, look no further than Bones. Philly gets a turn to catch the Delta Saints in action at Milkboy on August 26th.