Well, hello there, 2018. I’m starting the year off already happy with you because local act The Other Bones rose like a phoenix from the flames, and after several years of inactivity, has just released a fantastic four-song EP called “Circular” that will lead to a full-length album called “The Night With Me.”
Electronic pop trio The Other Bones is singer Loretta Allen, Andrew Mead on synths and programming, and Eric Bruce Schnare on guitar.
I first heard the band about six years ago and was instantly hooked because Allen’s voice is incredible, and they have an original, intense and right-up-my-alley electronic sound that drew in me and many others. In May 2012, the band released an EP called “Hinges,” a swoon-worthy collective of five damn-near-perfect tunes. About a year later, the trio started working on a full-length album called “In the Night With Me,” spending about 10 months writing the record, but, as Mead told me, “The band imploded before we could finish it.”
Fast-forward to two years ago. The band decided it was important to put the “Night” album out, so it picked up where it left off and got back to work on it. On The Other Bones’ Facebook page, Loretta Allen laid herself bare with a raw and personal post about what went down:
“I thought my passion for singing would inform what I would do with my life. But passion is not a given, and I spent too much time leaning on talent and not enough on developing a work ethic,” said Allen. She also said she got an email letting her know the band was breaking up. “I messed it up. I took The Other Bones for granted, and now they’re leaving me, and it’s my fault.”
A couple of years passed with no music or contact with her former bandmates. “Time heals and softens and reveals. It became clear to all three of us that the music we wrote together was more important than having a cohesive brand or being able to function as a business,” Allen said. The trio eventually came to a place where it had a shared vision of finishing and releasing the album.
” ‘In the Night With Me’ was born out of conflict, written as it was when being in The Other Bones was hard. My self-doubt as a woman may have contributed to the dissolution of The Other Bones, but it also wrote this record.” Allen also explained that, in order to finish a record started five years earlier, the band’s members had to reach back and get in touch with their younger selves. “The songs themselves are now old friends. This record is for them,” she said.
With nothing left to do but listen to the new material, I reached for my headphones and dove into “Circular’s” opening track, called “Secure.” It had me at hello. A wall of synths and guitar sound lights up Allen’s vocals. Toward the end, the phrase “Why am I not good enough?” is repeated first calmly, and then with the fury of a live wire.
The trip continues with “Fight Me Now,” which starts out on a chill, mellow note of self-reflection but quickly escalates into a sweeping, dense song about getting over someone with vicious sucker punches, then forays into piano and back into the fire again with a scorching electric guitar. “Rotations” is the slowest jam on “Circular,” and it’s a gorgeous song that lyrically is both forlorn and forward-looking. Allen’s vocals sound like the fuse has been lit on a stick of dynamite, such is their sheer power, but her voice also has a lovely catch to it that’s mesmerizing. “Circular” ends on an enthralling note with “Heated.”
This band really is more than the sum of its parts. Allen, Mead and Schnare have tapped into something that only the three of them could have achieved together — and only after going through the turmoil of their breakup and reunion. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the songs when “The Night With Me” arrives a few months from now. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and listen to “Circular.” The band will be having a big CD-release show, and I’ll be sure to let you know once the details have been finalized. It’s unlikely that after the full album is out The Other Bones will continue as a band, but Mead told me that all three of them plan to continue making music together in some capacity “after the band/record is laid to rest.” Welcome back, The Other Bones. Even if your presence is but a shooting star, it’s sure good to hear from you again.