Woah. Live, Bonemachine are a sonic-electronic revelation, a riot of body-rattling bass and heartbeat-imitating beats set to the crunch of a six-string and the sound of jaws crashing floorwards. But this... this is just creepy. Their first dedication of over half a dozen tunes to disc, ‘Vent’ is a mini-album rammed with haunting songs – not in the way that the Daily Mail will tell you that a free CD of melodic power ballads is ‘haunting’, but in a way that you could actually wake up with a cold sweat on, hoping that the sound coming from beneath the bed is a bass line laced with guitars and not something a bit more sinister.
The album’s ghostly ambience is established from the off, with ‘Another Day Over’ coming on like DJ Shadow re-mixing a particularly gothic daydream, voices ranging from the high-pitched to low-drone samples and everything. Although, aside from the vocals, the same could be said about most of ‘Vent’s song cluster, an album that’s single-handedly dissected electronic music and proven that it’s still driven by a pulsating heart is hardly going to become dull anytime soon now, is it? Especially with these sort of tracks. Like ‘This Ocean's Angry’, which we’d call ‘chill-out’ if it wasn’t a disturbing ode to death in A&E (with ‘In The Air Tonight’-style stadium drumming, I may add). Or ‘The Message’, which goes from piano lilt to Dubya-sampling soundscape to the sound of paranoid android protest to a bassline-happy Death In Vegas-esque climax, all without losing face. That’s all before bringing in 'secret weapon' ‘Sleepy From A Bad Dream’, which despite being over thirteen minutes long and involving some rather lush orchestration is the closest they’ve got to a rousing, stitch-inducing anthem.
Add to the core six tracks Simon Heartfield’s ambient-acid remix of the gently twitching ‘Hold Me’ and what have we got? Chilling chill-out? ‘Emotronica’ (© Shooman 2004)? Hallucination House? We don’t know. We’re not sure we want to know. But whatever it is, we like – even if we do feel a bit disturbed…
8Thomas Blatchford's Score