Review: Muscle & Bone, “Peace & Light”
One of the best feelings is when you finish listening to a record for the first time and can truly appreciate just how full bodied it is. It’s so reassuring to hear songs and ideas that are so well done – so fleshed out. These are the releases that renew your faith in your scene. And every so often a band just gets it. Muscle & Bone is one of those bands.
Just shy of two years after the release of their self titled EP, the boys are finally back in town. This time, they’ve come armed with an eleven song LP called Peace & Light that is sure to turn heads. The songwriting on this record is incredible. From the construction of the songs themselves, to the incredibly well thought out lyrics. There is not a single song on this record that will disappoint, and you can hold me to that one.
Peace & Light opens up with XO. The bar is immediately set so high for anything else this record could possibly have to offer. When I said that these guys knew how to write a song, I wasn’t kidding. The proof is right here. Starting off with a song that wastes no time getting right to the meat of things was a brilliant move. You can’t help but admire what these guys are doing, and you won’t be able to help falling in love with the music they make. They keep this energy going with Song for the Broken Road. I still feel lied to when I see the song is only a couple seconds over the two minute mark. For such a short song, it feels incredibly full.
Keep Sinking and Song for Broken Teeth would both make such incredible singles. They both have an incredible amount of staying power and energy. Keep Sinking is a song in the same vein as XO. The guys waste no time just throwing you right into a fast moving first verse before things get a little more relaxed. Thankfully, they don’t lose any energy in that transition. Song for Broken Teeth follows the more relaxed vibe that Keep Sinking introduced us to and perfected it.
I need you to keep in mind that relaxed isn’t being used synonymously with slow, but being used more literal to the definition of the word. As in these tracks are free from tension and just flow very naturally.
The only reason I’m clarifying that is because the title track, Peace & Light, is actually a slow song. There is so much emotion conveyed in this song. The haunting drum beat, the strings, and the vocal delivery together all make this song stand out from anything else on the record. It’s very easy to see why Muscle & Bone would want to name the record after this song. It’s so beautifully done, and so wholly represents the music they make. This song paired with Meaningful Things makes for a one-two punch that hit me equally as hard as the combination of The Hotelier’s In Framing and Your Deep Rest from the record they released earlier this year. There is real, heartwarming/heartbreaking emotion at the forefront of these tracks and there is no denying just how pivotal they are to each of these records respectively.
Direction is such an important song too. I can’t tell you how attached I am to the lyrics “This the sound of growing older/Never wiser.” Like, these are the words I want etched on my headstone. No question. Easily my favorite song on the entire record. If there’s one thing I love, it’s lyrical continuity. Drag Your Dreams is another track that has to do with dreams. Where as Meaningful Things talks about what our dreams and aspirations say about us, Drag Your Dreams is telling you to “paint all your dreams on anchors/and watch them drown.” Which could mean a number of things, but I’m taking it as the guys saying that its good to HAVE these dreams and aspirations but don’t let those things define you. I don’t want to delve too deep into interpretation, so I’m gonna stop myself right there.
The record closes with Wash Over Me and holy cow. Lyrically, this track feels very much like reflection in terms of the whole record. It feels very much like a song that should close a record. And I mean, the fact that they harken back to the title track and start singing the words “peace and light” for the last 20-25 seconds of the song definitely doesn’t hurt things.
As I’ve said before, I feel like Muscle & Bone are going to do big things. With the release of this record, I dare you to try and tell me otherwise. We’re just shy of half way through 2014 and I have no problem telling you this release is easily in my top three. Make sure you pick yourself up either a digital copy here or a physical copy here. Either way, just make sure you get your hands on a copy of this record.