Tim Booth - Bone - Tim Booth - Bone

2006-03-29 20:32

Tim Booth is the ex-frontman for the band James. You'll know their hit - "Sit down" ("those who find themselves ridiculous / sit down next to me", now available as Muzak (TM) in your local supermarket).

On this solo debut, Booth hasn't lost his knack for making world-weariness a sing-along sensation worth celebrating. Nor has he abandoned the innovative use of dance and psychedelia, woven into the muscular rock spine of his oddly catchy songs.

Bone kicks off with likeable tracks - the type that haunt your head despite their oddness. Tracks that will have your friends saying "burn this for me!" and should have you saying "No, idiot, someone does this for a living. BUY it". But the album fast descends into less socially acceptable romantic kinds of sadness. Not that this mood doesn't fit with the way the album begins - for all their upbeat style, lyrics like "Life's a bitch and I'm her whore' (from the title track "Bone") are as full of the fear of being hurt as they are insistent on risking it all again, anyhow.

What we have is an album that dares to explore perverse, complex needs. To Tim Booth's credit, he treads just the right side of the self-indulgence line and is fascinating rather than merely self-obsessed. This is tender, vulnerable music about seeking understanding - the great unattainable goal for the best kinds of rock songwriters.

Sadly Bone will still lose lazy listeners by track five. Let's hope Booth doesn't give up trying just because his failed attempt is only near perfect.

- Jean Barker


"...a debut that veers between heaven and hell and rarely hits an even ground between."
- Chris Long for BBC

"Though still the right-on navel-gazer, he has set his self-absorbed lyrics to fresh new sounds and textures."
- Caroline Sullivan for The Guardian

If a concept album can be about needing love and understanding, Tim Booth's Bone might just be the one. Or is that just the default theme for rock and pop music?

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