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Review: The Bonesetters - Figure It Out
Posted January 28, 2014 by Seth Johnson
WRITTEN BY
Seth Johnson
ON
January 28, 2014
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Listen to Figure It Out via MFT's embeddable player: 

(or purchase the album here)

 

It had been a while since we had heard anything new from The Bonesetters. The ragtag bunch of Muncie-bred boys were last heard on 2011’s very solid SAVAGES (insert raving review of Savage’s Ale House here). Since that release, however, the band had continued playing shows, leaving many wondering when the new tracks they had been performing live would surface on a physical release.

 

Well, that day has come. On their 2014 EP, Figure It Out, The Bonesetters yet again showcase their superior knowledge of rock ‘n’ roll songwriting, further strengthening the reputation they have built since their humble Muncie beginning. Set to be released through Rhed Rholl Recording and In Store Recordings, the seven-song release was engineered, mixed and mastered by Tyler Watkins (Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s) at the now defunct Queensize Recording Studio, as well as at his various apartments in Indy.

 

 

Once a Muncie resident, I can remember my first interaction with The Bonesetters. While I forget who else they played with, I specifically recall seeing them perform in Ball State’s Student Center as a freshman, back around 2009. Having seen them at countless shows at the Village Green Records’ since then, the band’s intelligent songwriting and genuine live energy have remained consistent, even up to their latest release.

 

Instead of simply going through each song as a conventional review might, I’d like to discuss each song in a more thematic way—one that ties back to the group’s namesake. For each of the seven songs on the release, I have pinpointed a bone in the body to compare them to, illustrating how each piece fits into the collective mold of this great EP.

 

 

“Housefires” – The opening track of Figure It Out invites the listener in, much like the phalanges of the hand might, with fluttering guitar riffs by lead guitarist Sam Shafer. The song quickly picks up as lead singer Dan Snodgrass’ rolls with every burst of climactic instrumentation that comes his way.

 

“Golden Youth” – Several segments of this song grabbed my ears, collectively constructing what I felt to be reminiscent of the rib cage in its overall piecing. A gloomy, Western-esque intro, surf-y guitar work in the verses, and chilling choruses make this song an excellent showcase of the band’s complexity.

 

“Day of the Dead” – My personal favorite from the release, this particularly catchy tune features old-timey choirs of oo’s and ah’s, ultimately reeling you in with Snodgrass’s vocal hook, “She’s gotta figure it out.” Holding the EP together in the way that the spine does for the body, this tune features several instrumental layers and serves as a telling snapshot of the group’s mature song crafting.

 

 “Dread Fearsome” – Thoughtful lyrics make this tune particularly introspective, bringing to mind the skull. “If I were a god I’d rampage across the globe, but if you called me home you know I would go and hold you in my arms,” sings Snodgrass.

 

“Sundowners” – Reminiscent of the upper arm or the humerus, this tune is powerful, giving Snodgrass opportunities to flex his fantastic vocal ranges and the solid work of Drew Malott (bass) and Cody Davis (drums) to drive a dense rhythm section.

 

“Saint Led Astray” – This one progresses in gentle steps, bringing to mind the tibia, or shinbone. Contemplative lyrics again surface, pairing with beautiful orchestration to prompt a poignant response from the listener.

 

“Greed”The femur, or thighbone, is the biggest bone in the body. Comparatively, this closing track on Figure It Out is also big in its climactic bursts. “Greed” appropriately caps a release strung together by uniquely catchy instrumentation and all-around solid songwriting.

 

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