Roll the Bonesby Andy Davis / 06.05.2009
There’s one thing I can tell you about Jay Bones, the frontman of South African punk legends, Fuzigish, and that is Jay Bones can sure play a fucken guitar. He mashes that thing proper. Now Fuzigish are legends not just because they play a really catchy brand of pop punk with big syrupy lashings of reggae swirled in for good measure. It’s not just that frenetic bass, the kicking upbeat punk rhythms and the fluidity with which they step in and out of the music and change direction before going back to the hook. But Fuzigish also write great songs. Hits. Little digestible punk hits that sit with you a long time. At least they would be hits in any other country. They’d be heroes. Untouchable celebrity. You’d be unable to shake their hands after gigs. Some red-jacketed simian would stop you from climbing onstage and diving head first into the audience (a Fuzi gig standard – open stage dives). But in South Africa we reward mediocrity and 1st world copycat shit, instead of elevating and respecting our class acts. But I digress. Fuzigish are world class. I’ve established that. And now Jay Bones has released a soulful solo offering simply called Rambling Bones that further cements his reputation as a serious, versatile and most importantly, talented, musician. The album comes on like an old friend with a plaintiff acoustic guitar riff. Bluesy, repetitive, beautiful, hypnotic. Watching and Waiting unfolds like an acoustic country flower. Assured and understated. Roots. Like most things Jay touches, it oozes pure digability. He’s got a musical midas touch. This guy understands making music that just feels right. Next song opens up the door to your soul and all that weird happy sadness you’ve been bottling up in there since you first fell in love with that chick in high school just comes flooding out. Within 30 seconds you’re ready to sing along. It’s like he’s playing the chords on your guts. ‘Come Home’ is like smoke from a morning camp fire; comforting, familiar, achingly sweet. Again it just feels right. Then he does a duet with Red Ambulance Records stable-mate Angela De Klerk who front the all girl Joburg punk outfit Japan and I. And based on this evidence, Angie from Japan and I might just be a real musician too. Certainly, in my humble opinion, it’s the best piece of music she’s ever committed to a digital recording. ‘Baby Shoes’ is a beautiful, sad yet upbeat song about the complexities of breaking. Set to another of Jay’s swelling acoustic guitar riffs, while Jay and Angie swap lines in the verses and then bust out the chorus together. Seriously had me thinking that I had misjudged Japan and I.
The rest of the album is listenable, digable even, but seems to step back from the unique oomph of those first three songs. It’s like the first three songs established the high tide mark, and the rest of the album is satisfied to flow back in forth within that established perimeter. But those first three are such awesome power it’s really worth owning this album. They’re going to be classics. Songs like ‘Broken Head Broken Thumb’, ‘Thinking About You’, ‘All is Secure’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Those Grey Men’ all serve to show what diverse talents Jay Bones possesses, both musically and lyrically. This is really an album you can put in your machine and let play from start to finish.
You can preview the album at http://www.ramblingbones.com you can also download the track ‘Come Home’ for free and buy the whole album online at http://www.flagmusic.co.za