Review Archive

‘The Bones’ from Rusty Shackle - original folk rock washed in a multitude of influences

(September 01, 2013)

There it is, that distinct feeling: ‘I’ve heard these tunes before.’ That can mean you’re hearing a The Bonesselection of close covers. Alternatively, you’re listening to something utterly catchy that straightaway falls into the ‘deliciously familiar’ category; that’s precisely what you get from Welsh folk-rockers Rusty Shackle. Their album ‘The Bones’ is innovative folk rock washed in a multitude of influences from an infusion of bluesy Americana mingled with traditional folk to slices of Celtic-alternative wrapped up in striking lyrics and beguiling melodies.

Impressive bass lines and drums cut solid furrows overlaid with driving guitars to propel the tunes, while the fiddle ranges from superbly placed accents to carrying the melody. From the title track ‘The Bones’ with sparkling banjo leading into driving chorus, this is music that delivers primal attraction - instant ‘in-your-head’ tunes; ‘Tall Tales’ continues the full-blown seduction, and before you reach the duelling fiddle and trumpet of Driving Into The Dust’ you’re hooked. ‘King Creole’ continues to evoke the ‘I must have heard this before’ thought, but once again, it’s just Rusty Shackle hitting that ‘sweet spot’ as they implant unforgettable melodies in your head. There’s a step change with the tearful emotion of ‘Tommy’s Letter’ - a soldier’s agonising reflection on what he faces and all he leaves behind, complete with heart-breaking lyrics and a tender meaningful melody.

Were I inclined to select favourite tracks then ‘Thinking’ is definitely up there as is ‘Glorious May’. There’s considerable depth and maturity to ‘The Bones’. Some albums take time to grow on you – this one’s attraction is instantaneous. Some albums divulge all in an instant – this one steadily reveals more and more.

Rusty Shackle, are Liam Collins (vocals, guitar, organ, piano) Scott McKeon (fiddle, banjo, vocals, percussion) Baz Barwick (bass, mandola, guitar, vocals, percussion)  James McKeon (guitar, vocals) Owen Emmanuel (drums, percussion) and Ryan Williams (trumpet, bass guitar, tambourine).

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Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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