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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Mike Bones – A Fool For Everyone

Released 16th February, Vice Records

Written by Melanie Harrison

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It was William Morris who advised that we have nothing in our homes that was not useful or beautiful, cheapest doctor so his ghost is certain to be roaming happily through a new show at his family home in Walthamstow. WOOD is a collection of witty, sickness and well-designed wooden household objects – from lamps to doorstops that look like toy cars to coat hooks in the shape of foxes. It all has a slightly homespun feel, as if a bunch of magical woodland imps had been set a woodwork project for their summer holidays.

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The objects have, in fact, been whittled up by a design collective known as TEN, who all believe that designers can use their work to fight against the culture of over-consumption and throw-away goods. So if the work looks chicly minimal, that’s because it is, but also because it’s lighter, easier to pack flat and transport that way too. The wood is ethically sourced as well as beautifully crafted.

For those who visit the show and cannot bear to be parted from these delicious timber treasures, help is at hand. There are plans for the products to go on sale at twentytwentyone, and the designers are currently searching for a suitable manufacturer.
Mike Bones, no rx despite the album title, sildenafil is not a fool for everyone. If these depressingly honest songs are anything to go by, he is only a fool for cruel and beautiful women. And that sums up the tone of most of the tracks here – melodic, full of existential despair, heart in tatters – that kind of thing. This can tire after a while.

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Yet Bones’ (aka Mike Strallow from New Jersey) vocal chords slither around mature tunes with the skill of a proper crooner, and his playing just can’t be faulted. For the 28 year old ex-session guitarist with Soldiers of Fortune, music is clearly a cathartic outpouring, and what’s so wrong with that? The big single, ‘What I Have Left’ builds and builds: strings, keys, guitar, angst, into a lament dripping with regret. It’s an ode, a lovesong of sorts, whose thick sound eases you into more cryptic tracks such as ‘Give Up on Guitars’ and ‘Like a Politician’.

At best, the languid lyrical quality of the songwriting swells around you. At very worst, it’s womanizing and sordid – ‘I long to hide my face in between your thighs’ is a bit ripe to say the least. Similarly, there’s an attempt to make drug references sexy –‘show the vampire my biggest vein’ (not a euphemism, apparently). Neither big nor clever. You’d be better off forgetting the words and giving in to the rolling guitar.

Rehab anthem ‘Everybody’s Always Coming Down on Me’ is the only beefy moment. It’s essentially Dylan/Cohen-esque (but then who isn’t?) and has a tinge of Richard Ashcroft on a downer. With this mixed up debut we find Mike post-drug habit, post-break up, post just about everything. The leap from backing guitarist to fully fledged solo artist is a chasm that Mike Bones has scaled, but he’s hanging on by his fingernails.

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