Radioactive Bones: Eye In The Sky (Radioactive Bones)
Radioactive Bones take us on a space flight in their UFO to punk town via Mexico in 9 songs that span 43 minutes on this self released CD.
In this album Radioactive Bones somehow manage to incorporate several different styles and blend them together in such a way that it doesn’t sound like the aural equivalent of a cut-and-shut car: 80s punk, the space rock sounds of Hawkwind, guitar breaks reminiscent of a Spaghetti Western or the Mexican dessert, Native American Ghost Dance vocals and the sounds of the kasbah all make an appearance.
The opener, “Man In The Sky”, starts with a frantic, almost chainsaw guitar before we get our first taste of the bass chords that give this release an early Motorhead / Hawkwind flavour, accentuated in the moments where the guitar lead breaks conjure up Fast Eddie Clarke. The drumming is solid and fast paced throughout this release, with plenty of rolls around the toms. Not quite Filthy Animal Taylor but not far off! As the CD rolls on the punk rock influences kick in with shades of SLF, the 4-skins, Oi Polloi & The Business.
As a rule this hybrid of punk and psychedelic doesn’t always pay off: when Nik Turner left Hawkwind and started Inner City Unit it was too punk for the hippies, too hippy for the punks and too jazzy for everyone, but somehow had a loyal following. 2000 DS and others of their ilk did punk for trip heads. Radioactive Bones have managed to get the mix just right and you know that they are certain to go down well with a festival crowd: it’s punk enough for the punks but not so rough the hippies will hate it.
Although many of the songs are predictably on the space theme, some carry a protest element – “Eye In The Sky” about CCTV and drones and the tongue in cheek of “Radioactive Bones”: “You’ve got radioactive bones from your microwaved food and mobile phones”. The best example, however, is Voodoo Bombs: “Don’t drop bombs. Bombs kill children. Stop fighting wars for religion”.
As the music ranges across genres so do the vocals – from gruff punk rock-cum-Lemmy style to whoop whoop echoey craziness. Although they may be a little sparse, its not really noticeable as there is plenty going on with the experimental and intricately styled guitar work, the solid rhythm section’s frenetic drumming, resounding bass chord drones and Peter Hook-esque melodies and in general because these are well crafted songs with decent tunes. All killer no filler!
You would not know that this CD is a self-released effort given the amazing quality of the packaging so it comes as no surprise to find out that bass player Yaz works as a designer, guitarist / vocalist Roy is a session musician and drummer Pete is rarely off his kit. The original artwork combines the sci-fi/space theme with Mexican Day of the Dead and indigenous themes including an excellent Mayan style totem pole caricature of the band.
This is Radioactive Bones’ second album, a follow up to their instrumental first offering still available via soundcloud reviewed by Louder Than War’s Ged Babey here. Dem Bones also feature on the Faslane peace camp benefit download album .
I beat Ged Babey to getting the job of this review but he says:
I’ve been following Radiation Roys bands (the Illegal Quartet, the Green Egg) since the mid 80’s and personally I’d rate him as one of the best guitarists I’ve ever seen. He’s Slash, Thunders, Dick Dale and Daniel Ash all rolled into one, a virtuoso who retains a punk-rock attitude. I loved the Bones as an instrumental band mixing up Surf-Punk, Space-Rock and a Dubby feel but his singing, one minute Lemmy, the next a weird kinda Pete Murphy vocalising make this even better. Gigging hard has paid off and Yaz is an amazing bassist, considering she learned from scratch under Roys tutelage a few years back. Drummer Peter the Parking Meter (Hutton) is a superb drummer whose father was a respected jazz drummer who worked with Joe Jackson.
The centrepiece of this album is an uncharacteristic, but still manic, hard and heavy, “love song” called Born To Wreck where space cadet Roy, a man who’s had more trips than Ryanair declares his love for bassist and partner. his psycho mutant baby, Yaz, : “Baby you’re crazy, you’re insane …I love you….I hope you’re mine, til the end of time”. Soppy c*nt. Great guitar solo though!
With the likes of Evil Blizzard and Gnod tearing up stages up North it seems 2013’s variant on Space Rock is a very much making a resurgence and it would be great to see Radioactive Bones getting a bit of attention in other parts of the country other than just the South. We take them for granted down here but they probably are one of the best bands in the UK making Intergalactic Punk Rock that’s equal parts Hawkwind, Ennio Morricone and Bauhaus, the sound of a Silver Machine With No Name landing in a Flat Field…or something. This is a magnificent album.
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